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Advances in Juvenile Justice Reform | NJ

New Jersey: 2012 | 2009 



  • Youth in the Adult System — Appeals Court Rules that Transfer to Adult Facility without Due Process Violates Youth’s Rights New Jersey law permits youth aged 16 or older to be transferred from a juvenile facility to an adult facility if the youth’s “continued presence in the juvenile facility threatens the public safety, the safety of [other confined youth], or the ability of the commission to operate the program in the manner intended.” The state maintained that such youth could be transferred without any due process, and transferred the youth in this case without any prior notice to him, his family, his attorney, or the juvenile judge. However, the appellate court disagreed and invalidated the transfer, holding that, given the adult prison’s focus on punishment and security, rather than rehabilitation, youth must be provided due process—including written notice of the transfer with the supporting factual basis, the opportunity to be heard and present opposition, some form of representation, and written findings of fact supporting the decision to proceed with the transfer. State of New Jersey in the Interest of J.J., A-2357-11T2, decided August 28, 2012.

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  • Juvenile Defense and Court Process — Supreme Court Holds Right to Counsel for a Juvenile Attaches Early: The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the right to counsel attaches at the time of the filing of a delinquency complaint and obtainment of a judicially approved arrest warrant because they are “critical stages” of delinquency proceedings. The court further held that youth cannot waive their right to counsel except in the presence of and after consultation with an attorney. In re P.M.P., 200 N.J. 166 (2009).
  • Juvenile Defense and Court Process — State Establishes Post-Disposition Representation Project: As part of their work with the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network, the clinical programs at Rutgers School of Law-Camden and the Rutgers School of Law-Newark, and the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender collaborated to provide post-disposition representation to youth. The goal of the collaboration is to enhance legal representation for indigent youth and expand the capacity of the Office of the Public Defender. For the first time, juvenile defenders are able to provide youth in facilities with attorneys by referring post-disposition cases to the law school clinical programs, through which student attorneys take on post-disposition representation and visit the youth while they are in placement. The program originally began with two pilot counties in September 2009; the two law school clinical programs now receive referrals from six counties and have provided post-disposition representation to over 100 youth.

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Photo: MPD01605, under Creative Commons License.