San Francisco Votes to Close Its Juvenile Hall by 2021

By a 10 to 1 vote, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has voted to close its juvenile hall by the end of 2021. The ordinance requires the creation of a task force to develop home-like and rehabilitative centers in San Francisco to house youth offenders, including a secure site for those who pose a …

​A Great Warrior for Justice: Jeff Adachi 1959-2019 ​

PJDC mourns the loss of Jeff Adachi, Public Defender of San Francisco, who died suddenly ​on​ February 23rd.  PJDC President Patti Lee, who serves as head of the Juvenile Division for the office said of Jeff that “He truly believed in redemption,”  and that he was especially committed to providing the best juvenile defense and …

Los Angeles Supervisors Vote to Phase Out Pepper Spray in Juvenile Facilities

In the wake of a scathing report by the Los Angeles Inspector General regarding the rampant misuse of pepper spray against incarcerated children, PJDC joined dozens of juvenile justice and civil rights organizations to urge the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to phase out the use of pepper spray in all juvenile facilities.  The …

Registration Open For The 2019 Bay Area Juvenile Defender Gathering

Registration is now open for the second annual Bay Area Juvenile Defender Gathering at UC Berkeley Law School in Berkeley on Saturday, March 9th. Juvenile Attorneys, social workers, and education attorneys from all extended Bay Area counties are invited to come and share ideas at this interactive gathering. The featured speaker will be Elizabeth

Elizabeth Calvin Wins Juvenile Law Center Leadership Prize

Big congratulations go to PJDC Board Member Elizabeth Calvin for being selected to receive the Juvenile Law Center’s 2019 Leadership Prize.  The Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center awards the Leadership Prize each year to recognize outstanding individuals working in any field—who are fighting for the rights and well-being of youth in the child welfare and justice …

JJDPA Reauthorized After 16 Years, Preserving Core Protections for Youth

On December 21, 2018, President Trump signed a reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 (the “JJDPA”).  The JJDPA supports state and local juvenile justice planning and operations through grants, technical assistance, research, and program evaluation.  As a condition of receiving federal funding, states agree to implement core requirements of the …

Governor Brown Enacts Major Youth Justice Legislation

Late in the 2018 legislative session, California Governor Jerry Brown, in his last term as Governor, signed a series of bills that will increase fairness and developmentally appropriate treatment for children and youth accused of violating criminal laws.

These bills made it to the Governor’s desk, in large part, because of the efforts of many …

Damian Spieckerman, PJDC Juvenile Defender of The Year (2018)

PJDC is proud to announce that Damian Spieckerman was recently awarded the 2018 PJDC Defender of the Year Award at the PJDC Annual Roundtable. As a Deputy Public Defender with the Solano County Public Defender’s Office, Damian has spent half of his 15-year career as a public defender advocating for youth in the juvenile delinquency …

Great Appellate Case Regarding Transfer Hearings

In J.N. v. Superior Court (2018) 23 Cal.App.5th 706 the California Court of Appeal reversed a finding of transfer to the adult court because it found that the trial court “improperly evaluated the criteria, and applied the wrong burden of proof.” This case is particularly meaningful because J.N. was 20 years old at the time …

California Supreme Court Rejects Actuarial Approach to Parole Eligibility

In a 4-3 decision, the California Supreme Court held that a 50-year-to-life sentence for youth ineligible for parole under California’s Youthful Offender Parole Act violates the 8th Amendment within the meaning of Graham v. Florida. (People v. Contreras et al, S224564, filed Feb. 26, 2018). The majority opinion, penned by Justice Liu, and …