News

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 …

Governor Brown Signs Huge Package of Criminal Justice Reform Bills

On Wednesday, October 11, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a package of legislation which — in the words of the Governor’s own press release — will “improve California’s criminal and juvenile justice systems, restore the power of judges to impose criminal sentences and reduce recidivism through increased rehabilitation.”

Many of these bills would not have …

First District: Dismissal of 707(b) Offense Under WIC 782 Requires Sealing Under 781

In a sweeping published decision, the Court of Appeal granted David T.’s motion to seal his juvenile petition for a robbery, a 707(b) offense. The Court held that “because the court’s order setting aside the robbery finding and dismissing the petition under section [Welfare and Institutions Code section] 782 erased the petition as if it