For months, his mom and brothers would come to ACJP on Sundays, and we helped gather community support from his teachers, community mentors, and youth organizations that he was a part of to show Probation and the Courts another side to the picture that was being painted. At one court date, 25 people showed up — most were other young people of color involved with Youth United for Community Action that stood by this young man. ACJP helped communicate with his attorney, organize continuous community support, push for a rigorous education plan while he was in the hall, and convinced his school administrators to halt expulsion. All these collective efforts even resulted in the creation of an Educational Consultant position to the San Mateo County Private Defenders Program staffed by Aria Florant, a community advocate in East Palo Alto with Live In Peace.
This resulted in a sentence that makes real the promise of second chances that juvenile justice system administrators often espouse. It is one that restores young people to a productive path during a critical and transitional moment in their lives.
Thus, last Friday, this young man went from the hall straight to his freshman year at Cal State East Bay at Hayward. He will be the first one in his family to attend college.
Community support sustained him, supported him, and ultimately brought him home. We are excited to see the future he will create! — Submission Post by Charisse Domingo
Just last April, ACJP’s youngest member was at immigration court fighting deportation charges. Yesterday, he graduated eighth grade. In the fall of this year, he came back from an ICE detention facility after being referred there by San Mateo County probation. It’s been one tough year for this young man, but he’s got the love of his family and community to pull him through. Check out the campaign to stop juvenile ICE holds that ACJP De-Bug is working on with our allies in San Mateo County at www.stopdeportingyouth.com — Submission Post by Charisse Domingo
Thought provoking study by Stanford University’s Department of Psychology that found that when people were told that a juvenile defendant was Black, the consequences for the crime were harsher than if the juvenile defendant was White. More than just proving that racial prejudice exists, the authors of the study worry about the implications of these results on the actual protections for juveniles under a system that is supposed to be considered rehabilitative. At ACJP, we’ve seen this not just in the sentencing phase of a case but even at the charging stage. We hope that this leads to a broader discussion of racism and the juvenile justice system. To read the full report, click here. — Submission Post by Charisse Domingo
When sentencing young lawbreakers, race matters, study finds
Public favors harsher punishments when criminals are black, researchers say
by Sue Dremann
Palo Alto Weekly, 6/2/2012
People’s opinions on whether youth who break the law should be sentenced as adults vary significantly when a single word — black or white — is used to describe the defendant, a new study by Stanford University’s Department of Psychology has found.
In one season, Bay Area families are seeing three prominent leaders of legal institutions that have fought for, and in some cases, created, protections for low-income and marginalized communities, leave their posts. Mary Greenwood, the Santa Clara County Public Defender, and Miguel Marquez, the Santa Clara County County Counsel, have been appointed by Governor Brown to move on judgeship. Michael Kresser, the Executive Director of the Sixth District Appellate Project, is retiring after helping start the non-profit in 1985. While the three led distinctively different agencies, each were able to advance the rights of indigent and marginalized communities through their willingness to listen to, and work with, the communities they served. Through their collective leadership, Santa Clara County expanded its indigent defense, held prosecutorial misconduct in check, and created nationally recognized policy protections for immigrants.
Certainly, as new leadership is developed at each respective legal agency, a continuance of this inclusive, community-partnering approach is vital to continue the legacy laid-down by Greenwood, Marquez, and Kresser. Continue reading
Trayvon Martin’s Judge being replaced for a potential conflict of interest, glad small things like this are getting cleared up before the trial begins – Post Submission By Cesar Flores
Published April 18, 2012
ORLANDO, Fla. – The judge in the Trayvon Martin case quit after the attorney for defendant George Zimmerman argued she had a possible conflict of interest that related to her husband.
Judge Kenneth M. Lester Jr. will now preside over the case. The next judge who would be in the court rotation, John D. Galluzzo, also cited a conflict, so Lester was selected, according to a news release from the court.
Florida Circuit Judge Jessica Recksiedler had said she would make a decision by Friday, when a bond hearing for Zimmerman had been set. Her husband works with Orlando attorney Mark NeJame, who was first approached by Zimmerman’s family to represent the neighborhood watch volunteer. Continue reading
Our friends in Sacramento from the Criminal Justice Information Network sent us an update on the criminal justice bills being debated on the legislative floors. Below is a listing and their status. One particular bill that we have our eye on is AB 1709 — which would allow for jury trials for minors in particular cases. Interesting concept, wondering how it would impact conviction rates (what is called “sustained petitions” in juvenile court). Let us know what you think too! Post submission by Raj Jayadev
Bills on Juveniles, Realignment, Reentry, and a New Life Sentence
Today in Assembly Public Safety Committee, bills that would support defendants and their families with record-sealing, reentry, and due process were approved. One bill to increase law enforcement representation on county realignment boards was also passed. Additionally, a bill to add a life sentence to the existing offense for human trafficking of a minor was voted down by the committee. Continue reading
Another Tragic death. We all should take deep look at our laws and the ways they affect people in practice before another tragic occurrence like this happens. Check out this moving article by a 19 year old teen from New York speaking his thoughts on the incident. – Post Submission by Cesar Flores
You would never think a walk to the store would get you killed, right? Well, that was what happened to 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. As he was coming back home from the store carting an iced tea and Skittles, a neighborhood watch volunteer named George Zimmerman felt “intimidated” by the young man and shot him, killing him.
This brings up a lot of questions: When does an innocent high school student become “intimidating,” “threatening” or “suspicious”? How intimidating can someone be with a few munchies in their hand, just walking down the street? If you’re a black kid with a hoodie, is it immediately assumed that you’re “bad” or a “troublemaker”? Would things have been different if Martin was a white kid strolling down the street or if he had been dressed differently? Continue reading
Our friends at the Criminal Justice Information Network sent us an update on upcoming bills coming out of Sacramento that impact our communities. Checkout the descriptions of five below. We met one of the authors of AB 1706, the one about jury trials for juveniles facing strikes, and she makes some powerful arguments. — Posted by Raj Jayadev
From the Criminal Justice Information Network — The Assembly Public Safety Committee has scheduled its next hearing for March 20th. The Senate Public Safety Committee will hold its next hearing for March 27th. Letters of opposition or support are due to the Public Safety Committees one week prior to the hearing in order for your organization to be listed in the committee analysis, or official background information for the bill. Below are a few bills to watch out for as we approach March 20th. Continue reading
About two weeks ago, Veronica and her family camped outside a juvenile detention facility hoping that their son won’t be picked up by immigration officials after he was placed on an ICE hold. However, to their dismay, ICE officials came. In this picture, Veronica, the mom on the left, and Adriana (her sister on the right) waits in an attorney’s office right outside the ICE detention facility in San Francisco. They were hoping that their son would be released to them right then and there and were waiting for a hearing, when Veronica got a phone call from her son that ICE had already put him on a bus and was an hour away heading to Sacramento. As of now, they are still awaiting a decision of whether their son can return to the family as he fights his deportation case. The words in the title of this post were spoken by Patricia, another aunt who would drive 8 hours from Riverside to attend her nephew’s court dates. With the family’s perseverance and community support, we know this family will bring their son back.
The results of juvenile realignment forced our state to think more creatively and compassionately about juvenile offenders. As a result, according to this article, the youth prison population went down 88% in the last 10 years. Hoping the same results happen through the jails realignment. Submission Post by Charisse Domingo
Fewer youth in state detention after juvenile realignment
Published: January 9, 2012
By Callie Shanafelt, California Health Report
Michael Bryant has been in and out of Juvenile Hall in Santa Cruz since he was 13 years old, when he started drinking alcohol everyday. Now 17, Bryant is doing time in a treatment center after plea-bargaining on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon.
Some counties would have viewed this crime as a second strike and sent Bryant to a state facility. But Santa Cruz rarely sends youth to the state for supervision. In part, that’s because the county is a participant in the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, a program of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Continue reading