The mission of the NAPD Juvenile Committee is:
- To ensure improved juvenile defense is a priority of the national public defense community
- To ensure trainining and materials - in whatever format and from whatever respected source – are made widely available to juvenile practitioners and defender leaders throughout the country
- To meaningfully and proactively communicate and collaborate with other like-minded entities to promote common goals
The Juvenile Committee is predominantly focused on issues relating to representing juvenile clients in delinquency proceedings, proceedings related to status offenses, as well as juveniles who face adult sentencing in juvenile or adult court.
The Juvenile Committee directs cases affecting juvenile rights to the NAPD Amicus Committee, hosts webinars, submits juvenile-focused blog posts to the NAPD website as well as through social media, contributes various policy/leadership/trial skills resources to MyGideon, and makes comments upon developing professional standards for juvenile practice. In advance of the arguments in Montgomery v. Louisiana (argued – successfully! – before the United States Supreme Court by NAPD member and Amicus Committee Member Mark Plaisance), the Juvenile Committee worked with the NAPD communications network to create an appropriate set of defender talking points for the substantive issue of retroactivity for mandatory life sentences imposed upon juvenile offenders.
In February 2016, NAPD co-published its Juvenile Defense Self-Assessment Tool (JD-SAT) with the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC), which was endorsed by the NAPD Steering Committee. The committee supports the premise that defense in juvenile cases requires carefully cultivated and properly developed juvenile defenders. The role of the juvenile defender has evolved to require a challenging and complex skill-set needed to meet core ethical obligations. The Self- Assessment Tool is intended to assist defender leaders who want to ensure that juvenile defense is sufficiently resourced within their organizations and agencies, and that juvenile defense delivery complies with national standards. For those who have utilized or would like to utlize the JD-SAT can receive free technical assistance from NAPD and NJDC. This technical assistance is provided by juvenile defense experts, and is an invaluable opportunity to evaluate and improve juvenile defense services in your jurisdiction.
The committee continues to reach out to juvenile defenders, including attorneys, social workers, paralegals, investigators and other supportive staff working in mixed-practice offices as well recruit stand-alone juvenile defender agencies to NAPD membership, working together towards ensuring that improved juvenile defense is a priority of the national defense community. The Juvenile Committee meeting dates are determined via polling to achieve maximum participation. If you are interested in joining the Juvenile Committee, email Heather H. Hall