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Catalyst for Change: The Implementation of the Recommendations of the Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice. Pennsylvania Bar Association Midyear Meeting February 5, 2011 Casa Marina Resort Key West, Florida. Philadelphia Inquirer January 28, 2009.
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Catalyst for Change: The Implementation of the Recommendations of the Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice Pennsylvania Bar Association Midyear Meeting February 5, 2011 Casa Marina Resort Key West, Florida
Philadelphia InquirerJanuary 28, 2009 "The setting is Pennsylvania coal country, but it’s a story right out of Dickens' grim 19th-century landscape: Two of Luzerne County's most senior judges on Monday were accused of sending children to jail in return for kickbacks."
Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice • Created by Act 32 of 2009. • Established in response to allegations of insufficient legal representation in juvenile proceedings and of alleged corruption impacting the Luzerne County juvenile justice system.
Luzerne County • Philosophical Changes – More emphasis on alternatives to incarceration • Practical Changes – Creation of new programs and units to deal specifically with juvenile justice issues
Recommendations Regarding Crime Victims • Create a statewide office of Juvenile Justice Victim Advocate. • Restore funding for the Victims of Juvenile Offenders program to 2005 levels. • Create a Luzerne County Victims of Juvenile Crime Restitution Fund.
Recommendations Regarding Judicial Ethics • That the Supreme Court re-examine the Code of Judicial Conduct to ensure ethical provisions and reporting requirements are adequate.
Status • The Supreme Court has created an ad hoc committee, chaired by Superior Court Judge Anne Lazarus, to review judicial ethics, the current ABA Model Code and recommend revisions to the Pennsylvania Code of Judicial Conduct.
Recommendations Regarding Judicial Discipline – Short term • Review and revise recently adopted JCB Internal Operating Procedures. • Review the role and independence of JCB staff vis-à-vis the JCB members. • Revise and enhance the JCB annual reports • Revise and enhance the JCB website. • Ensure that judges and lawyers are aware of their ethical responsibility to report misconduct, and develop educational materials so the general public is aware of how to report judicial misconduct.
Status • The Judicial Conduct Board has invited the ABA to audit its operations. • SB 59, referred to the Judiciary Committee 1/2011 seeks to amend Title 42 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in Judicial Conduct Board, to provide for review of complaints, for criminal investigations and for target letters. • HR 865, a concurrent resolution introduced last session to create an 11-member Judicial Reform Task Force to review and study changes needed to ensure oversight and accountability of the Judicial Conduct Board.
Status • HR 868, a concurrent resolution introduced last session to encourage the Judicial Conduct Board to create a task force to review internal operating procedures of the Board. • HR 866, a concurrent resolution introduced last session urged the Chief Justice and Court Administrator to implement Commission’s recommendations regarding educational materials, filing of complaints regarding violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct, increasing the hours of ethics training for attorneys and CLE for judges involved in delinquency matters.
Status • HR 1252, a joint resolution introduced last session to amend Article V of the Constitution to repeal existing provisions relating to the Judicial Conduct Board within the Judicial branch and to establish a Judicial Conduct Board in the Executive branch. HR 1252 also sets forth duties regarding investigation of complaints of judicial misconduct and the release of information regarding proceedings and re-establishes a smaller the Court of Judicial Discipline within the Judicial branch with more non-lawyer members.
Recommendations Regarding Judicial Discipline – Long term • Review the Pennsylvania constitutional provisions regarding judicial discipline to ensure the JCB is accountable.
Recommendations Regarding Attorney Discipline • Create educational programming to ensure the bar and the general public understand what constitutes attorney misconduct. • Revise and enhance the attorney discipline website. • Increase and enhance attorney CLE ethics requirements.
Status • D-Board directed to make recommendations in response to IBCJJ. • HR 866, a concurrent resolution introduced last session urged the Chief Justice and Court Administrator to implement Commission’s recommendations regarding educational materials, filing of complaints regarding violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct, increasing the hours of ethics training for attorneys and CLE for judges involved in delinquency matters.
Recommendations Regarding Continuing Education • The Commission endorses the training standards adopted by the PDAA and JDA of PA. • The PDAA and JDA of PA should develop and present CLE courses for prosecutors and defense counsel. • CLE should be mandatory for judges, masters and hearing officers who handle juvenile cases. • Emphasis should be placed on the importance of working in the field of juvenile justice.
Status • The Juvenile Unit of the Defenders Association and the JDA of PA have also procured a 2-year grant from PCCD for the development of 5 model juvenile units in small, medium and large counties in the state. The model units are being created to establish caseload and workload standards, implement the Performance Guidelines and improve compensation standards for juvenile defenders, court-appointed counsel and privately retained attorneys practicing in juvenile courts.
Recommendations Regarding Juvenile Defense Lawyers • Create a state-based funding stream for indigent juvenile defense. • Create a Center for Juvenile Defense Excellence. • Ensure access to defense counsel by deeming all juveniles indigent for purposes of appointing counsel; by restricting the right of a juvenile to waive counsel; and by requiring stand-by counsel if the juvenile waives counsel.
Status • HB 1391 introduced last session sought to amend Public Welfare Code to further clarify that the intent of current law is for the state to reimburse county children and youth programs for 50% of costs for legal counsel for juveniles in juvenile court proceedings. Federal matching funds are also available to the state. • No action taken to date to create a Center for Juvenile Defense Excellence
Status • The Court’s Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee considering modifications to rules regarding a rebuttable presumption of indigence for all juveniles; a restriction of a juvenile’s right to waive counsel and a requirement for stand-by counsel if the juvenile waives counsel.
Status • HB 1211 introduced last session sought to amend the Juvenile Act by requiring the court to appoint counsel to represent the child if the child is without financial resources. Also provides that counsel for the child cannot be waived at any stage of proceedings. HB 873 introduced last session also sought to amend Juvenile Act to prohibit waiver of counsel for juveniles.
Recommendations Regarding Ethics for Juvenile Probation Officers • The Chief Juvenile Probation Officers’ Association and all county probation departments should adopt standards of conduct as well as rules prohibiting partisan political activities for all employees.
Status • Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee has proposed a number of modifications to existing Rules related to the definition of “juvenile probation officer” and what the President Judge may include in a juvenile probation officer’s commission and a new Rule regarding the authority, duties and training of juvenile probation officers. • JCJC staff work with Ethics Committee of Chiefs’ Council to continue development of ethics standards • Supreme Court of PA adopted Code of Conduct that applies to all state and county employees who are under supervision of the PJ in each district.
Recommendations Regarding Court Hiring Practices • The Court Administrator of Pennsylvania should undertake a national review to determine best practices for court hiring policies and present the findings of that study to the Supreme Court for review.
Status • The Supreme Court of PA adopted a Code of Conduct in October 2010. The code addresses a number of employment practices including acceptance of gifts and use of position for personal gain; acceptance of additional compensation; special treatment and/or special favors; misuse of employment position, equipment; personal and financial interest and the duty to disclose.
Recommendations Regarding Continuing Supreme Court Oversight • Continued oversight of the Luzerne County juvenile justice system.
Status • The Supreme Court continues to exercise oversight on the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas and the Eleventh Judicial District. • AOPC has established an internet-based system for citizens to submit comments or complaints through the UJS website. Procedures are in place to ensure complaints are logged and a response is provided.
Recommendations Regarding the Use of Data and Statistics • Ensure that adequate resources are available for the JCJC to collect appropriate juvenile justice data and conduct additional data analysis. • Enhanced data collection and data sharing among various entities that collect data regarding the juvenile justice system.
Recommendations Regarding Stating Dispositional Reasoning on the Record • Revise statutes and Rules of Court to require judges to state on the record how a juvenile disposition furthers the goals of the Juvenile Act.
Status • Supreme Court has directed its advisory committees, including the Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee, the Appellate Court Procedural Rules Committee, the Disciplinary Board and the CLE Board to review and to make any appropriate recommendations to the Court.
Recommendation Regarding Reduction or Elimination of Shackling • The Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Committee of the PCCD should study and recommend ways to reduce or eliminate shackling in juvenile courtrooms.
Status • Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee has proposed new Rule 139 to address the use of restraints on a juvenile during a court proceeding so as to eliminate shackling except in only the extreme cases where there is the potential for harm to the juvenile or another; disruptive courtroom behavior; or a risk of flight. Proposed Rule also requires the least restrictive restraint be used when restraints are deemed necessary.
Recommendations Regarding Juvenile Placement Decisions • Implement the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) model as a detention assessment instrument • Endorses the modification of the JCJC Standards Governing the Use of Secure Detention.
Status • Supreme Court has directed its advisory committees, including the Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee, the Appellate Court Procedural Rules Committee, the Disciplinary Board and the CLE Board to review and to make any appropriate recommendations to the Court. • JCJC and PCCD working towards goal of implementing JDAI initiative on statewide basis and closely monitoring the process to determine whether the detention assessment instrument should be required by the JCJC Standards Governing the Use of Secure Detention.
Recommendations Regarding Youth Level of Services Initiative • Expand as a pilot program the Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory risk/ needs instrument and the employment of valid research and other evidenced-based risk assessment instruments.
Recommendations Regarding Appellate Rights • Develop a form advising juveniles of their right to appeal and seek other post dispositional relief. • Develop internet-based resources explaining how the post dispositional process works and how parents and children get assistance.
Status • Supreme Court has directed its advisory committees, including the Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee, the Appellate Court Procedural Rules Committee, the Disciplinary Board and the CLE Board to review and to make any appropriate recommendations to the Court. • JCJC anticipates working with AOPC and others to develop internet-based resources.
Recommendations Regarding Appellate Review • Expedited appellate review. • Creation of a statewide office to provide assistance in appeals under the Juvenile Act.
Recommendations Regarding Nunc Pro Tunc Relief • Enhanced allowance of nunc pro tunc (now for then) relief.
Recommendations Regarding County Commissioners • Encourage county commissioners to attend CCAP Academy for Excellence in County Government. • Enhance understanding of the respective roles and obligations of county-level court officials and county executive officials.
Status • CCAP has had a few breakouts on the issue of juvenile defense and has plans to include the topic in future breakouts. • CCAP has also been working with the indigent juvenile defense organization on some policy issues and have kept their Courts and Corrections Policy Committee up to date, including a discussion on whether CCAP would support minimum standards for caseloads and salaries if doing so would come with partial state funding.
Recommendations Regarding the Dept. of Education • Zero-tolerance policies should be discontinued. • Enhanced understanding of the roles and obligations among educational, law enforcement and juvenile justice stakeholders. • Enhanced cooperation among educational, law enforcement and juvenile justice stakeholders to maintain safety and security in schools. • Keep the juvenile justice status of students confidential. • Review education curriculum for children in placement.