Results tagged “Juvenile Law”

December 20, 2012

By Clinical Professor Samantha Buckingham

buckingham SJ.jpgSenator Durbin (D-Ill.) held the first-ever U.S. Senate hearing on the ending the "school-to-prison pipeline." Senator Durbin is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights. The Senator defined the pipeline as a "gateway" out of school and into the criminal justice system that functions to rob children of their "fundamental right to education." In essence, many children with cases in juvenile delinquency court are there because of issues that arose in public school; instead of sending children to the principal's office for misbehavior, students are now removed from the educational environment entirely. Statistics reveal that students of color, students with disabilities, and LGBT youth bear the brunt of school disciplinary measures that funnel them into the delinquency system. According to the most recent date from the Office for Civil Rights, more than three million students were suspended from school at least once during the 2009-2010 school year. Seventy percent of the students arrested for an event arising at school were Black and Hispanic. Unfortunately, Black males who have diagnosed disabilities are the group most often suspended.

In my experience both as a public defender and as a juvenile advocate through my work as the co-director of the Juvenile Justice Clinic at Loyola's Center for Juvenile Law and Policy, I have represented many children who have been arrested at school. My testimony to Congress described how the school to prison pipeline impacted three of the clients I represented through my work in the juvenile justice clinic. Law students were involved in each one of these cases, researching and writing motions, meeting with the clients, investigating incidents at the schools, and arguing before the court. The stories I chose to share with the committee demonstrate a few important concerns (though not every concern) about the school-to-prison pipeline: 1) children are punished twice, 2) timing is important to intervention on behalf of children with special education needs, and 3) increased police presence and increased funneling of children to delinquency courts for incidents occurring at public school can have a negative, stigmatizing effect.

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March 21, 2012

California State Sen. Carol Liu has asked Professor Maureen Pacheco, assistant director of Loyola's Center for Juvenile Law and Policy, to testify before the California State Senate Public Safety Committee on pending bill SB 988, which Pacheco helped draft. The proposed bill specifies that any person younger than 18 years of age who is represented by counsel as a ward of the court is entitled to competent counsel. The bill would require mandatory training for attorneys who represent minors in wardship.


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November 1, 2011

maureen_pacheco.jpgBy Associate Clinical Professor Maureen Pacheco, assistant director of Loyola's Center for Juvenile Law and Policy

In People v. Caballero, the California Supreme Court will soon be determining whether a 16-year-old boy with schizophrenia may be sentenced to 110-years-to life for three counts of attempted murder. Rodrigo Caballero would not be eligible for parole until 2212, when he would be 122 years old. Advocates from around the country joined in an amicus brief filed on October 28, 2011, urging the Court to find that this "functional equivalent" of life without parole is precisely the sentence prohibited by Graham v. Florida (2010) 130 S. Ct. 2011. In Graham, the United States Supreme Court ruled that juvenile offenders cannot be sentenced to life without a meaningful and realistic opportunity for re-entry into society prior to the expiration of their sentence for non-homicide offenses. As Justice Kennedy wrote so eloquently,

The juvenile should not be deprived of the opportunity to achieve maturity of judgment and self-recognition of human worth and potential. . . . Life in prison without the possibility of parole gives no chance for fulfillment outside prison walls, no chance for reconciliation with society, no hope.

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June 2, 2011

Seal_small_webversion.jpgBy Seth Lennon Weiner, Co-Director, Loyola's Center for Restorative Justice

The U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling in Brown v. Plata brings into sharp focus the current dilemma facing California's criminal justice system. With prison overcrowding currently at alarming levels, California must find a careful balance between protecting the Eighth Amendment guarantees to prisoners and the public safety of the state. Considering Philadelphia's less than positive experience with a court-ordered reduction in prison populations during the 1990s, many Californians have expressed their anxiety and doubt over the High Court's ruling. The ruling, however, highlights more fundamental questions about our current criminal system in America: Where should the focus of criminal law be and around whom should the justice system be centered?

Loyola's Center for Restorative Justice (CRJ) believes that the answer to these questions requires a transformation of our current criminal justice system. Unlike our current system where the offender is the focus of the criminal proceeding, restorative justice seeks to transfer the focal point to the victim. Currently, California replaces the victim and seeks retribution on behalf of the victim and community at large. A system based on restorative principles would shift the focus of criminal proceedings from sanctions to restitution in order to make the victim whole and the offender directly culpable for the harm caused.

Restorative justice is not only a way of holding offenders accountable but, more importantly, is an idea that seeks to change the behavior of offenders and mitigate the harm caused to victims. By recognizing and addressing the harm caused to the victim as well as the harm that caused the offender to commit the offense, restorative justice takes a comprehensive approach that promotes healing and justice between the victim, the offender, and the community.

Another Way: Restorative Justice for Youth

The CRJ is bringing together scholars, policy makers, jurists and activists for a daylong discussion of the role of restorative justice for youth offenders. "Another Way: Restorative Justice for Youth" will run from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, June 4 on Loyola's downtown L.A. campus.

The CRJ has crafted a day that will foster dialogue on healing for victims, their families and offenders. Loyola Professor Sam Pillsbury will deliver the speech, "From Liability to Responsibility," at 9:15 a.m. At 10:15 a.m., "From the Top Down: Government Perspectives on Restorative Justice," will feature panelists Judge Michael Nash '74, presiding judge, Juvenile Court of the L.A. Superior Court; Dr. John Deasy, superintendent, L.A. Unified School District; and Lee Baca, sheriff, L.A. County. Clinical Professor Maureen Pacheco, assistant director of Loyola's Center for Juvenile Law & Policy, will moderate.

The afternoon will be anchored by a keynote address at 1 p.m. from Azim Khamisa, an activist for peace whose son was shot and killed during a gang initiation while delivering pizzas. Khamisa is the author of The Secrets of the Bulletproof Spirit: How to Bounce Back from Life's Hardest Hits. At 2 p.m., the "From the Bottom Up: Community Perspectives on Restorative Justice" panel will feature speakers Jacqueline Caster, founder, Everychild Foundation; Ruett Stephen Foster, senior pastor, Community Bible Church, Culver City; Kim McGill, co-founder, Youth Justice Coalition, Los Angeles; Javier Stauring, co-director, Office of Restorative Justice, Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Additionally, from 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m., there will be breakout sessions on a range of topics: "Opportunities for Victim's Voices," "Reintegration, not Release," "Community Participation" and "Education is Power." The day will be capped at 3 p.m. with a reception at which the Francisco "Franky" Carrillo Award will be presented to Scott Budnick, president, Greenhat Films (producers of The Hangover movies), and writing instructor, InsideOUT Writers.

Learn more about the program and how to register.

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May 5, 2011

Maureen PachecoClinical Professor Maureen Pacheco recently published an op-ed, "Don't re-traumatize foster youths in court," in the Los Angeles Daily News. Below is an excerpt:

As a juvenile justice advocate for the last 25 years, I am strongly in favor of any measure that will help reform our dependency courts to provide better outcomes for children in the child welfare system.

Unfortunately, a measure before the state Legislature that seeks to presumptively open the dependency courts with the long-term goal of improving our child welfare system could create more harm than benefit. As written, AB 73 risks re-traumatizing youth who have already been abused or neglected by making public the most intimate details of their lives.

Read the complete op-ed


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September 8, 2010

Maureen PachecoClinical Professor Maureen Pacheco, clinical director of the Center for Juvenile Law & Policy, published "The Defense of Children - A Call to Arms" in the The Champion, the magazine of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Read the complete piece at:


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