The Role of the Juvenile Defender for Committed Youth (PROJECT-BASED PRACTICUM)
Professors Henning, Ferrer, Loucheim, and Spain
J.D. Practicum 1246
| 4 credit hours
In a project-based practicum course, students participate in a weekly seminar and work on a project under the supervision of their professor. This project-based practicum course will focus on a youth’s access to justice, right to due process, and the unique role of juvenile defense counsel after a youth has been committed to the government agency responsible for the care of delinquent youth. Students will participate in a two hour/week seminar and complete 10 hours/week of project work under the direction of the course professors.
SEMINAR: When a youth is adjudicated delinquent in the District of Columbia’s juvenile justice system, s/he may be placed on probation or committed to the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS). Commitment is theoretically reserved for the most egregious offenders, as determined by the number and severity of the youth’s delinquent charges. Although youth accused of crime are guaranteed the right to a lawyer at every “critical phase” of a delinquency case, youth routinely appear without counsel at numerous administrative meetings and post-disposition (i.e., post-sentencing) hearings where important decisions are made about their liberty interests and basic needs. Many lawyers are unaware of their ethical obligations to continue representing their client after disposition and have not been trained on the best practices for post-disposition advocacy. Other stakeholders, such as DYRS, diverge on whether lawyers must, may, or should appear at meetings and proceedings that take place after commitment.
PROJECT WORK: Each student will engage in project work in this practicum. In the past, student projects have included (a) research on juvenile defense attorney standards, ethical rules and ethics decisions regarding post-sentencing and post-disposition obligations of attorneys in other jurisdictions and in the adult system; (b) interviews with various stakeholders including youth, their families, probation officers, caseworkers, practicing juvenile defense attorneys and juvenile justice advocates; (c) drafting and proposing juvenile defense practice standards for post-disposition representation; (d) observing and evaluating post-commitment advocacy by defense counsel (from initial commitment to revocation hearings); (e) development of a training manual for lawyers representing committed youth; and (f) recommendations for system-wide policy and regulatory reforms to improve advocacy and care of committed youth.
Recommended: Family Law II, Professional Responsibility. Prerequisite: J.D. students must complete the required first-year program prior to enrolling in this course (part-time and interdivisional transfer students may enroll prior to completing Criminal Justice, Property, or their first-year elective).
Students may not concurrently enroll in this practicum course and a clinic or another practicum course. Students may concurrently enroll in this practicum course and an externship.
THIS COURSE REQUIRES PROFESSOR PERMISSION TO ENROLL. Students must submit a resume and statement of interest (one page double-spaced), explaining his or her interest in the course to Professor Kris Henning (firstname.lastname@example.org) by June 2, 2014.
This practicum course is open to LL.M. students, space permitting.
Evening students who work during the day are encouraged to reach out to the professors to discuss whether this practicum course would be compatible with their schedules.
This is a four credit course. Students will receive two credits for the seminar and two credits for the supervised project work. Both the seminar portion and the project work will be graded.
Students who enroll in this course will be automatically enrolled in both the seminar and project components and may not take either component separately. After Add/Drop, a student who wishes to withdraw from a practicum course must obtain permission from the faculty member and the Assistant Dean for Experiential Education. The Assistant Dean will grant such withdrawal requests only when remaining enrolled in the practicum would cause significant hardship for the student. A student who is granted permission to withdraw will be withdrawn from both the seminar and project components.
Default attendance rule for all practicum courses (unless the professor indicates otherwise): Regular and punctual attendance is required at all practicum seminars and fieldwork placements. Students in project-based practicum courses are similarly required to devote the requisite number of hours to their project. If a student must miss seminar, fieldwork, or project work, he or she must speak to the professor as soon as possible to discuss the absence. Unless the professor indicates otherwise, a student with more than one unexcused absence from the practicum seminar (out of 13 total seminar sessions), or one week of unexcused absences from the fieldwork or project work (out of a total of 11 weeks of fieldwork or project work), may receive a lower grade or, at the professor’s discretion, may be withdrawn from the practicum course.
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