Project Hosts 2006 Juvenile Law Seminar
On September 14 and 15, 2006, the Justice for Children Project co-hosted the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers' annual Juvenile Law Seminar at the Saxbe Auditorium in the Moritz College of Law. Presenters discussed a wide variety of juvenile law topics, including Ohio's Serious Youthful Offender statute, implications of Roper v. Simmons for juvenile law practice, immigration issues relating to juvenile clients, evidentiary issues in permanent custody cases, the rise of managed care agencies in Ohio, and medical evidence in child abuse cases.
Project Receives Grants from American Bar Association, Columbus Bar Foundation, and Kellogg Foundation
The Justice for Children Project, in coordination with the Moritz College of Law Pro Bono Research Group, has received grants from the ABA, the CBF and the Kellogg Foundation to create "The Pro Bono Partnership," a training and mentoring project in the Franklin County Domestic Relations Court. The Justice for Children Project and the PBRG will create practice standards and train pro bono attorneys to represent children in parentage and custody cases. Pro bono attorneys will attend continuing legal education courses including materials created by the Project and incorporating the ABA's best practices standards, and will be paired with third-year law students who will provide research, drafting and on-the-ground support. Project staff will serve as mentors to the attorneys, and will meet with them regularly to discuss and work on cases.
Professor Federle presents argument to Ohio Supreme Court
On May 9, 2006, Professor Federle presented argument as Amicus Curiae in support of the appellee to the Ohio Supreme Court in In Re A.B., 2005-1966, addressing a certified conflict over the following question: "After a child agency is granted temporary custody of a child and files a motion for permanent custody, does a juvenile court have the authority to place the child in a planned permanent living arrangement when the agency does not request this disposition?" Professor Federle shared time with the appellee, and her brief argument commences at minute 33 of the archived video. [Read More on the Amicus Project | Read Transcript of Oral Arguments]
Professor Lloyd presents paper at AALS Annual Meeting
On Saturday, January 7, 2006, the Justice for Children Project's Clinical Professor, Angela Lloyd, presented a paper at the American Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting to the AALS Section on Immigration Law, entitled Regulating Consent: Protecting Undocumented Immigrant Children from Their (Evil) Step-Uncle Sam, or How to Ameliorate the Impact of the 1997 Amendments to the SIJ Law. Professor Lloyd's discussion has been archived by AALS online, and is available here (Professor Lloyd's discussion begins at 1 hr. 35 min. 48 sec.). The paper will published in a forthcoming issue of the Boston University Public Interest Law Journal.
Justice for Children Project submits Amicus Brief to Ohio Supreme Court
On March 13, 2006, the Justice for Children Project submitted an amicus curiae brief to the Ohio Supreme Court in the case In Re A.B., 2005-1966. The brief addresses the certified conflict question in the case: "After a child agency is granted temporary custody of a child and files a motion for permanent custody, does a juvenile court have the authority to place the child in a planned permanent living arrangement when the agency does not request this disposition?" [Read More on the Amicus Project]
Project Director offers testimony regarding Ohio Senate Bill 238
On Wednesday, March 1, 2006, the Director of the Justice For Children Project, Professor Katherine Hunt Federle, offered testimony to the Ohio Senate Health, Human Services, and Aging Committee, regarding S.B. 238, the Child Welfare Update Bill. Professor Federle's testimony supported the vast majority of the bill, but criticized the bill's proposed amendment to Ohio Revised Code 2151.281. Shortly after Professor Federle offered her testimony, the Committee voted to amend the bill to resolve most of the problems discussed in Professor Federle's testimony. [Read Written Copy of Professor Federle's Testimony]
Amicus memorandum submitted to Ohio Supreme Court
On February 13, 2006, the Justice for Children Project submitted an amicus curiae memorandum in support of jurisdiction to the Ohio Supreme Court in the delinquency case In Re J.B., 2006-0339. [Read More on the Amicus Project]
Amicus brief by Justice for Children Project Cited by Washington Supreme Court
On November 3, 2005, the Washington Supreme Court issued an opinion in In Re Parentage of L.B., and held that a nonbiological mother was a de facto parent and therefore, could seek to establish and assert her parental rights. The case involved a dispute between a biological mother, Page Britain, and her same-sex partner, Mian Carvin, over the custody of their 9-year-old daughter. Carvin, who had stayed home to raise the child, had been denied custody and visitation. The trial court never heard from the child and refused to appoint an attorney or a guardian ad litem for the child.
In the Washington Court of Appeals, the Justice for Children Project filed a brief arguing that the child has a constitutional right to maintain a parent-like relationship and was denied procedural due process when the trial court denied her an opportunity to be heard. The Court of Appeals ruled that the child has a constitutional right to maintain a relationship with her parent, citing to amicus briefs filed by the Justice for Children Project and others. The case was appealed to the Washington Supreme Court; the Project filed another brief, explicitly arguing that the child was entitled to counsel.
In rendering its ruling, the Washington Supreme Court, in footnote 29, recorded the following significant observation:
Particularly relevant, amicus curiae the Justice for Children Project advocates on behalf of L.B. for appointment of independent counsel. Because no party to this dispute, Britain, Carvin, nor L.B., through her GAL, has raised or otherwise addressed this issue at any stage in the proceeding, we decline to consider the issue of whether appointment of counsel is in fact constitutionally mandated. See RAP 13.7(b). That being said, we strongly urge trial courts in this and similar cases to consider the interests of children in dependency, parentage, visitation, custody, and support proceedings, and whether appointing counsel, in addition to and separate from the appointment of a GAL, to act on their behalf and represent their interests would be appropriate and in the interests of justice. Cf. RCW 13.34.100(6); RCW 26.09.110; King County Local Family Law Rule 13. When adjudicating the 'best interests of the child,' we must in fact remain centrally focused on those whose interests with which we are concerned, recognizing that not only are they often the most vulnerable, but also powerless and voiceless. We, however, reserve for another day the underlying question raised by amicus of whether the United States or Washington Constitution mandate appointment of counsel in a given circumstance. But see Kenny A. ex rel. Winn v. Perdue, 356 F. Supp. 2d 1353, 1359-61 (N.D. Ga. 2005) (holding children have fundamental liberty interest in deprivation proceedings and due process requires appointment of independent counsel to represent child's interests).
Professor Katherine Hunt Federle, Director of the Justice for Children Project, and Professor Angela M. Lloyd, Assistant Clinical Legal Professor, filed the amicus brief on behalf of the Project. Current and former Moritz law students in the Practicum who worked diligently on the brief included Melissa Callais, Kim Rigby, Lindsey Lathwell, Erin Davies, Dianna Parker, and Rachel Relle.