PJDC Amicus Committee

PJDC is renowned within California and on a national level for its expertise in youth justice issues and for the high quality amicus curiae (friend of the court) support it provides. This reputation for excellence has enabled PJDC to work with some of the leading national organizations in this area including:

  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
  • Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth (CWCY) at Northwestern Law School
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Juvenile Law Center
  • National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC)
  • National Center For Youth Law (NCYL)
  • Youth Law Center
PJDC Appellate Work

In addition, PJDC collaborates with a number of California organizations on amicus curiae briefs, including:

  • Law Offices of the Los Angeles County Public Defender
  • The Juvenile Justice Clinic, Loyola Law School
  • California Public Defenders Association (CPDA)
  • First District Appellate Project (FDAP)

Over the years, our Amicus Committee has emerged as a recognized and knowledgeable force in appellate courts advocating for policy and legal reform for youth. Our amicus briefs are respected in higher courts, and have been cited several times in California Supreme Court opinions. PJDC has filed amicus briefs on a range of issues, including:

  • retrospective application of Proposition 57 to juveniles who were prosecuted as adults prior to the enactment of the measure
  • juvenile interrogation and confession issues (Miranda Rights)
  • Eighth Amendment challenges to juveniles serving de facto life without parole sentences
  • juvenile competency issues
  • electronic search conditions for youth
  • youthful offender parole hearing issues

The PJDC Amicus Committee is also very active in providing other types of amicus support. Our appellate support has greatly contributed to shaping juvenile law and to ensuring justice for youth. Our services include:

  • arguing in the appellate courts as amicus counsel
  • strategizing with attorneys on how to frame legal issues in their briefing
  • guiding attorneys on how to raise adolescent development, and other juvenile policy issues in their appellate briefs
  • providing secondary sources for appellate attorneys to incorporate in their briefings
  • researching and analyzing legislative history to help attorneys to provide context for their issues
  • reviewing appellate briefs and trial records to provide technical support
  • writing “Me Too” letters to support requests for the California Supreme Court to review or deny review in cases
  • filing letters to request publication or de-publication of cases

“Amici curiae, literally ‘friends of the court,’ perform a valuable role for the judiciary precisely because they are nonparties who often have a different perspective from the principal litigants. ‘Amicus curiae presentations assist the court by broadening its perspective on the issues raised by the parties. Among other services, they facilitate informed judicial consideration of a wide variety of information and points of view that may bear on important legal questions.’”

— Connerly v. State Personnel Bd. (2006) 37 Cal.4th 1169, 1171 (citation omitted)

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