The last decade has given rise to an unprecedented series of decisions that relies upon common sense, science, and social science to require that youth be considered differently than adults in criminal procedure and sentencing matters. In Roper v. Simmons,1Graham v. Florida,2J.D.B. v. North Carolina,3 and Miller v. Alabama,4 the U.S. Supreme Court rendered a series of decisions that calls for transformational change in the way that children are treated in criminal procedure and sentencing matters. These decisions also require defense attorneys to think differently about the children they represent and how best to use the Supreme Court’s decisions to their full advantage. While not every court or judge will be receptive to new arguments, defense attorneys should consider raising youth-centered, particularized arguments based on the Supreme Court’s logic, reasoning, and holdings whenever appropriate to gain the best results for their young clients.
I. The ‘Adultification’ of Youth
In some ways, the Court’s recent focus on the individualized consideration of youth in criminal matters can be viewed as a response to the “adultification” of youth in the criminal justice system over the prior decades. Fueled by “get tough” approaches to crime and fears of juvenile “superpredators,” states passed legislation expanding transfer of juveniles.5 Across the country, new laws also eliminated the judge’s authority to exercise discretion in individual cases by requiring automatic transfer of youth based exclusively on their age and the type of offense charged.
Set against this background, Roper, Graham, J.D.B., and Miller call into question the thinking that led to laws that treat youth as though they were simply miniature adults. Advances in research in the science of adolescent development, relied upon by the Supreme Court, establish that juveniles are less culpable and more amenable to rehabilitation than adults. The Roper, Graham, and Miller Courts held that these biological differences require courts to draw distinctions between children and adults — even those who commit heinous offenses — and hold children to appropriately different standards of accountability.
II. The Quartet — Roper, Graham, J.D.B., and Miller
While Roper, Graham, J.D.B., and Miller are clearly not the only decisions in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court to require specialized treatment of children in matters of criminal procedure and sentencing, their significance to the juvenile justice landscape is apparent not only from their relatively rapid timing with respect to one another, but also from their holdings and reasoning.
Roper v. Simmons
In Roper v. Simmons, the Court held that youth under the age of 18 could not be sentenced to death.6 In so doing, Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, relied on emerging scientific knowledge regarding adolescent development, particularly that (1) youth have a relative “lack of maturity” and an “underdeveloped sense of responsibility,” (2) youth are more vulnerable to “outside pressures” or “peer pressure,” and (3) a juvenile’s character is “not as well formed” as that of an adult.7 Noting the United States’ isolated place in the world as the only remaining country to impose the death penalty on children, the Court found that youth are “categorically less culpable” than adults and therefore ineligible for the worst penalty the state can impose.8
Graham v. Florida
In Graham v. Florida and Sullivan v. Florida, the U.S. Supreme Court confronted the issue of whether life without the possibility of parole was constitutional for youth under the age of 18 who committed nonhomicide offenses.9 The Court, for the first time drawing upon two strains of precedent — the Eighth Amendment’s categorical ban on death and its proportionality analysis — held that the sentence was unconstitutional for youth convicted of nonhomicide offenses.10 In so doing, the Court analyzed the penological justifications for a sentence of life without possibility of parole and found that the sentence was particularly cruel for a juvenile.11 It therefore held that the state must provide a youth who commits a nonhomicide offense with “meaningful” or “realistic” opportunities for release.12
J.D.B. v. North Carolina
In J.D.B. v. North Carolina, a case that involved the rights of children subjected to custodial interrogation, the Supreme Court found that the age of the child was relevant to the question of whether the child was in custody.13 As the Court said, “children cannot be viewed simply as miniature adults.” Put another way, the Court articulated a “reasonable juvenile” standard for the purposes of Miranda.14
Miller v. Alabama
In Miller v. Alabama, the Court’s most recent pronouncement on the constitutional rights of juveniles, the Court held that mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of parole for children whose crimes occurred before they were 18 years old were unconstitutional.15Miller and its companion case, Jackson v. Hobbs, both involved 14-year-old petitioners who had been convicted and sentenced in homicide offenses. In Miller, the petitioner had been a direct participant in the murder of a neighbor who had come over to engage in a drug deal with his mother; in Jackson, the petitioner was involved in an armed robbery, but he did not fire the fatal shots — thus he was convicted on a theory of “felony murder.”16 In reaching the conclusion that the mandatory life-without-possibility-of-parole sentences were improper in these cases, Justice Kagan relied upon the Court’s reasoning in Roper, Graham, and J.D.B. to hold that, because juveniles were less culpable than adults, judges must consider youth and its concomitant features — including age, developmental maturity, home environment, and peer pressure — before sentencing young people under the age of 18 to die in prison without any possibility of parole.17 The Court also predicted that “given all [the Court had said] in Roper and Graham, and this decision about children’s diminished culpability and heightened capacity for change,” appropriate circumstances for imposing the sentence would be “uncommon.”18
III. A New Moment — Realizing the Full Potential of Miller and Its Recent Predecessors
Reading the holdings of Roper, Graham, J.D.B., and Miller, in isolation, can be deceptive. For instance, from a superficial point of view, Miller simply bans mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of parole for children under the age of 18.19 However, taking the holding of Miller — and for that matter, any of the other cases or their holdings — as an island, without consideration of the Court’s language and reasoning throughout these decisions, misses the point.
Taken together, the recent quartet of Supreme Court cases stands for several major propositions. First, given all that is known in terms of adolescent development, biology, and common sense, children are “categorically less culpable” than adults for their conduct. Second, youth and its “hallmark” features are relevant to criminal procedure and sentencing decisions. Third, mandatory sentences fail to appropriately account for factors such as age, maturity, environment, susceptibility, and rehabilitative potential. Fourth, life without parole and other extreme sentences function like a death sentence when it comes to their application to children because children cannot view the future in the same way as adults do and, as a practical matter, will serve more time in prison for the same offense than an adult offender (“A 16-year-old and a 75-year-old each sentenced to life without parole receive the same punishment in name only.”).20 Fifth, in order to appropriately account for an offender’s youth and potential for rehabilitation, children should be given “meaningful” opportunities to earn their release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation.21
These propositions, in turn, have a potentially wide range of applications for attorneys representing children in juvenile and adult criminal court. The following sections provide some suggestions for arguments that attorneys should consider raising. Attorneys should be aware, however, that Miller is still in its infancy in many ways, and it will take time for these arguments to bear fruit.
A. Sentencing and Enhancements
Perhaps the most obvious application of Miller, Graham, and Roper is to the realm of sentencing determinations. At a minimum, defense attorneys can argue that children eligible to be sentenced to life without parole and “defacto”22 life sentences or their equivalent are entitled to individualized consideration based on the factors enunciated in Miller, and should be afforded “meaningful” opportunities to earn their release.23 Individualized sentencing is not a mere formality — in light of the Miller Court’s emphasis on specific factors attendant to youth and its likening of life without parole sentences to a death sentence, defense attorneys should seize the opportunity to investigate and present extensive mitigation evidence with regard to the youth’s family and home environment, education, developmental disabilities, role in the offense, susceptibility to peer pressure, etc. As such, a sentencing hearing in which a life sentence is on the table should encompass the type of extensive mitigation typical in capital litigation cases with at least two major differences: (1) it must include a presentation of facts relevant to the youth-specific factors outlined in Miller; and (2) it must make the case that a reduced sentence or release — not a life sentence — is appropriate. Attorneys should also be prepared to present expert testimony as warranted by the factors presented in each case.
While Miller’s holding ostensibly applies only to mandatory life sentences, defense attorneys should not hesitate to raise Miller in discretionary sentencing determinations that result in lengthy or life sentences as well — particularly when those determinations would otherwise fail to include individualized consideration of the Miller factors. Beyond life sentences and de facto life sentences for youth, Miller, Graham, and Roper also provide ample fodder to challenge other mandatory sentencing schemes. Miller’s emphasis on the need for individual consideration of youth with respect to sentencing decisions calls into question the constitutionality and appropriateness of all types of mandatory sentencing decisions to children. Thus, if a child in adult court is facing a mandatory minimum sentence — particularly one that is lengthy — the defense attorney should consider raising Miller and taking the position that such a sentence is unconstitutional. Even in juvenile court, defense attorneys can argue that mandatory sentences violate the spirit, if not the letter, of Miller, Graham, and Roper.
A logical extension of this argument arises in the arena of mandatory consecutive sentences, and other mandatory sentencing enhancements or “add-ons.” For instance, a judge may be required to “stack” separate sentences on top of one another or be required to add a set number of years to the sentence based on type of weapon used (for instance, a gun), type of drug involved, or other characteristics. Because these types of sentences do not allow judges to evaluate the child’s youth or individual circumstances before imposing them, they may again provide support for a defense attorney’s argument that such schemes should be invalidated or at least be imposed on a discretionary basis.
B. Felony Murder and Accomplice Liability
Accomplice and felony murder prosecutions of youth are also ripe for challenge. Even prior to Roper and Graham, some scholars had challenged the constitutionality and propriety of convicting teenagers under a theory of felony murder (that is, where the individual is convicted based on participation in the underlying felony, and not intent to cause the resulting death) based on the history of the common law behind the felony murder rule, policy justifications for the rule, and emerging scientific knowledge regarding adolescent brain development.24 In particular, following the Roper decision, scholars argued that the decision’s reliance on adolescents’ “impetuous” behavior resulting from their immaturity and “underdeveloped sense of responsibility,” as well as its recognition of youth’s susceptibility to peer pressure and lack of impulse control, raised serious questions regarding the justification of the use of the felony murder rule as a deterrence mechanism for young people.25
Following Graham and Roper, these arguments have gained traction. In Graham, in holding that juvenile life without parole sentences were unconstitutional for those who were not convicted of homicide, the Court reasoned that defendants “who do not kill, intend to kill, or foresee that life will be taken are categorically less deserving of the most serious forms of punishment than are murderers.”26 In Miller, and more specifically, the companion case, Jackson, the Court — because it had decided the cases on grounds that the mandatory life sentences imposed were unconstitutional — did not specifically reach the issue of whether life without the possibility of parole sentences for youth who are convicted of felony murder or accomplice liability were unconstitutional. Nonetheless, Justices Breyer and Sotomayor wrote a concurring opinion in which they argued that Graham would forbid a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for Kuntrell Jackson, unless it was specifically determined that he “kill[ed] or intend[ed] to kill” the robbery victim in that case.27 In so doing, Breyer questioned the underpinnings of “felony murder” and in particular the theory of “transferred intent,” whereby the defendant’s intent to commit the underlying felony “transfers” to or “satisfies” the intent to commit murder.28 As Justice Breyer put it, “the theory of transferring a defendant’s intent is premised on the idea that one engaged in a dangerous felony should understand that the victim of the felony could be killed, even by a confederate. … Yet the ability to consider the full consequences of a course of action and to adjust one’s conduct accordingly is precisely what we know juveniles lack capacity to do effectively.”29
While Breyer’s reasoning is placed in a context of juvenile life without parole sentences, it is clearly applicable to any felony murder or accomplice situation in which there is a serious argument that the child did not kill, intend to kill, or foresee the consequences of his or her actions. Attorneys should therefore use this reasoning and the language found in Roper, Graham, J.D.B., and Miller with regard to the child’s inability to foresee consequences, proclivity for impulsive and immature behavior, and susceptibility to peer pressure — in addition to any legal or common law arguments that may be present in their own states — to argue that a child’s intent to commit felony murder or perhaps other crimes is relevant and cannot be assumed in the same way that has given rise to the felony murder rule and accomplice liability for adults.
C. Transfer to Adult Court
Another area in which defense attorneys can use the recent Supreme Court jurisprudence is with respect to automatic transfer, direct file, and other transfer mechanisms to adult court that fail to take into account the youth’s age, developmental maturity, and individual circumstances. Typically, in the case of automatic transfer (or “legislative waiver,” as it is sometimes known), young people are automatically tried and sentenced in adult criminal court because of their age and the type of offense charged. No hearing or process occurs prior to that. Similarly, in states where prosecutorial waiver occurs, the prosecutor determines whether or not to charge a youth in adult criminal court. No hearing occurs before a judge to ensure that this is the most appropriate option for the child.
Such a lack of process or individualized consideration of the child is contrary to the language of Graham and Miller. As the Court in Graham noted, “criminal procedure laws that fail to take youth into account would be flawed.”30 While constitutional challenges to automatic transfer and direct file under Graham have not been widely successful, Miller’s affirmation that “youth matters” and that courts must consider individualized factors before meting out the harshest sentences upon young people lends more fuel to the argument. Indeed, in rejecting the notion that the discretion to transfer a youth to adult court could somehow excuse or ameliorate the mandatory sentencing schemes at issue, the Miller Court noted many of the problems inherent in state transfer mechanisms. The Court stated:
Of the 29 relevant jurisdictions, about half place at least some juvenile homicide offenders in adult court automatically, with no apparent opportunity to seek transfer to juvenile court. Moreover, several States at times lodge this decision exclusively in the hands of prosecutors, again with no statutory mechanism for judicial re-evaluation. And those “prosecutorial discretion laws are usually silent regarding standards, protocols, or appropriate considerations for decision-making.”31
The Court also noted the “limited utility” of giving judges the discretion to transfer youth at an early stage in the proceedings, with only “partial” knowledge of the child’s circumstances. Thus, the Court found that the discretion given to the judge at transfer “cannot substitute” for discretion at a post-trial sentencing and could not satisfy the Eighth Amendment.32
While the Court obviously was not considering the question of whether automatic transfer schemes might violate the Constitution, its recognition of the inadequacy of such schemes to take sufficient account of the youth’s age and individual circumstances should not go unnoticed by juvenile defense attorneys. Certainly, in the appropriate case, defense attorneys can use the language of Miller and Graham to ask courts to make an individualized determination of the appropriateness of transfer to adult criminal court — particularly when the sentences that the youth will face are particularly high or near “de facto” life, thus depriving the youth of a realistic opportunity to demonstrate his rehabilitation.33
Challenges to interrogation practices and to the admissibility of confessions extracted from youth had already gained momentum by the time of the decision in J.D.B. v. North Carolina. Indeed, amici to the petitioner in J.D.B. noted extensive research regarding the vulnerability of youth in the interrogation setting, thereby leading to a greater susceptibility of young people to making false confessions.34 In J.D.B., Justice Sotomayor wrote that, as a matter of common sense (not simply that of science or psychology), children are different from adults and those differences matter when making a determination as to whether the child is being held in custody for the purposes of triggering the Miranda requirements.35 It is worth noting that the Miller Court itself recognized that a child’s inability to deal with police and prosecutors was important to its determination that mandatory life without parole was an unconstitutional sentence for a child.36 As the Court aptly stated, “Mandatory life without parole for a juvenile … ignores [the fact that the youth] might have been charged and convicted of a lesser offense if not for the incompentencies associated with youth — for instance … his inability to deal with police officers or prosecutors. …”37 Thus, defense attorneys in juvenile and adult criminal court should feel emboldened to challenge the validity of confessions taken from their youthful clients, particularly where Miranda warnings were not given, parents or guardians were not present, and the child’s mental deficiencies make it unlikely or impossible that he or she could have understood Miranda warnings and/or voluntarily provided a statement.
E. Incarceration and Rehabilitation
In addition to a child’s immaturity and lesser culpability, the Miller and Graham Courts were uniquely focused on an adolescent’s potential for rehabilitation. In the words of Justice Kennedy:
Life in prison without the possibility of parole gives no chance for fulfillment outside of prison walls, no chance for reconciliation with society, no hope. Maturity can lead to that considered reflection which is the foundation for remorse, renewal, and rehabilitation. A young person who knows that he or she has no chance to leave prison before life’s end has little incentive to become a responsive individual.38
Similarly, the Court in Miller held that mandatory life without parole for juveniles “disregards the possibility of rehabilitation even when the circumstances most suggest it.”39 Thus, the Court unequivocally found that lengthy imprisonment terms for youth, particularly because these sentences were “especially harsh” for a juvenile, contravened the rehabilitative ideal of punishment.
A lengthy sentence is not the only feature of imprisonment that “forswears the rehabilitative ideal”; lack of prison resources and programming, poor conditions, and the incarceration of juveniles with adults all contribute to create an environment that fails to provide a juvenile with the opportunity to become rehabilitated. Thus, defense attorneys can use Graham, Roper, and Miller to argue that such conditions are contrary to the notion of rehabilitation for youth as expressed in these cases and also violate the Eighth Amendment.40
F. Mandatory Lifetime Registration for Juvenile Sex Offenders
In recent years, as states (and the federal government) have adopted sex offender registration laws for adults, they have included juveniles in these laws, or at least they have not specifically excluded them.41 Many of these laws include provisions for mandatory lifetime registration. Thus, youth who are convicted of a variety of sex offenses, even in juvenile court, are required to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives — just as if they were adults. No hearing occurs in order for the court to determine whether or not lifetime registration should apply; the requirement may be mandatorily imposed based on the offense and/or the juvenile’s age.
In the wake of Roper, Graham, and Miller, some have argued that, similar to life and “de facto” life sentences, such mandatory lifetime registration is permanent, harsh, and fails to take into account the child’s age, maturity, and amenability to rehabilitation.42 While some courts have hesitated to acknowledge that such registries are a form of “punishment” as required by the Eighth Amendment, other courts have taken the opposite approach, striking down mandatory lifetime registries for juveniles.43 Thus, attorneys should consider raising these arguments when representing young clients who are subject to such requirements.
In sum, the last decade has been one of transformational change with respect to the landscape of juvenile jurisprudence following a series of landmark decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court that recognizes the inherent developmental, biological, and behavioral differences between children and adults. Defense attorneys representing young people in conflict with the law should seize this moment to challenge the punitive and “adult” treatment of children in the criminal and juvenile justice systems.
- 543 U.S. 551 (2005).
- 130 S. Ct. 2011 (2010).
- 131 S. Ct. 2394 (2011).
- 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012).
- Donna M. Bishop, Juvenile Offenders in the Adult Criminal Justice System, 27 Crime & Just. 81, 84 (2000). See also Richard E. Redding, Juvenile Transfer Laws: An Effective Deterrent to Delinquency?, Juv. Just. Bull. (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention), June 2010, at 1, available at https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/220 595.pdf; Patrick Griffin, National Center for Juvenile Justice, Different from Adults: An Updated Analysis of Juvenile Transfer and Blended Sentencing Laws, With Recommendations for Reform5 (2008); Human Rights Watch et al., The Rest of Their Lives: Life Without Parole for Child Offenders in the United States 14 (2005).
- Roper v. Simmons, supra note 1.
- Id. at 569-70.
- Id. at 575-79, 567.
- Supra note 2.
- Id. at 2021-23, 2034.
- Id. at 2028-30.
- Id. at 2033, 2034.
- Supra note 3.
- Id.; Marsha L. Levick & Elizabeth-Ann Tierney, The United States Supreme Court Adopts a Reasonable Juvenile Standard in J.D.B. v. North Carolina for Purposes of the Miranda Custody Analysis: Can a More Reasoned Justice System for Juveniles Be Far Behind? 47 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 501(2012).
- Supra note 4.
- Id. at 2469.
- Supra note 4.
- 130 S. Ct. 2028.
- SeeMiller, Graham, Roper, and J.D.B., cited supra.
- Some courts have acknowledged that de facto life sentences imposed on juveniles are also subject to Miller and may be unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. People v. Caballero, 55 Cal. 4th 262 (Cal. 2012) (110-year sentence found to be unconstitutional); State v. Null, 836 N.W.2d 41 (2013) (finding a 52.5 year sentence to be unconstitutional under Miller).
- It is worth noting that courts across the country are currently considering or have recently considered the retroactive application of Miller (See, e.g., People v. Davis, 2012 IL App (1st) 112577-U, appeal allowed, 985 N.E.2d 308 (Ill. 2013); Com. v. Cunningham, 81 A.3d.1 (Pa. 2013) (holding Miller not retroactive); Diatchenkov. Dist. Atty. for Suffolk Dist., 466 Mass. 655 (Mass. 2013) (holding Miller retroactive)). As a result, resentencing hearings for those currently serving juvenile life without parole sentences have not occurred in many states and litigation on other applications of Miller have been slow to make their way through the courts. Defenders who represent individuals serving juvenile life without parole sentences should research the status of the case law in their jurisdictions with respect to retroactivity, and should be prepared to file postconviction petitions, motions for resentencing, habeas petitions in state or federal courts and/or other vehicles to challenge the constitutionality of the sentences and request resentencing.
- See, e.g., Steven A. Drizin & Alison McGowan Keegan, Abolishing the Use of the Felony Murder Rule When the Defendant Is a Teenager, 28 Nova L. Rev. 507 (Spring 2004); Erin H. Flynn, Dismantling the Felony-Murder Rule: Juvenile Deterrence and Retribution Post-Roper v. Simmons, 156 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1049 (April 2008). Indeed, the felony murder rule itself has been the subject of much debate. Drizin, 28 Nova L. Rev. 507 at 528-29.
- Flynn, 156 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1049 at 1069-71 (citing Roper v. Simmons).
- Graham, supra note 2, at 2027.
- Miller, supra note 4, at 2475 (Breyer, J., and Sotomayor, J., concurring).
- Id. at 2476.
- Id. at 2476. See also Marsha Levick, From a Trilogy to a Quadrilogy: Miller v. Alabama Makes It Four in a Row for U.S. Supreme Court Cases That Support Differential Treatment of Youth, 91 Crim. L. Rep. 748, 3-4 (2012) (positing that in light of the Court’s reasoning in Roper, Graham, J.D.B., and Miller, “the felony-murder doctrine, as well as the harsh penalties imposed following convictions for felony murder, appear ripe for challenge going forward with regard to their applicability to children.”).
- Graham, supra note 2, at 2031.
- Miller, 132 S. Ct. at 2474 (quoting Dept. of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, P. Griffin et al., Trying Juveniles as Adults: An Analysis of State Transfer Laws and Reporting 5 (2011)).
- Miller, 132 S. Ct. at 2472-75.
- Some state courts have begun considering whether automatic or mandatory transfer laws violate the Eighth Amendment under Miller’s holding. See, e.g.,In re M.J., 2013 WL 3184638 (W. Va. 2013) (unpublished) (mandatory transfer is not prohibited by Miller or Graham); People v. Pacheco, 2013 Ill. App. 4th 110409 (upholding automatic transfer scheme), appeal allowed, 996 N.E.2d 20 (2013).
- J.D.B., supra note 3, at 2401 (citing Brief for Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth et al. as Amici Curiae 21–22.).
- Supra note 3.
- Supra note 4, at 2468.
- Id. (citing J.D.B. v. North Carolina).
- Graham, supra note 2, at 2032.
- Miller, supra note 4,at 2468.
- See Andrea Wood, Cruel and Unusual: Confining Juveniles With Adults After Graham and Miller, 61 Emory L.J. 1445, 1485-91 (2012) (analyzing the viability of the argument that confinement of juveniles with adults violates the Eighth Amendment under so-called “categorical rule” cases, where such punishment (imprisonment with adults) is unconstitutional as applied to a certain category of individuals (juveniles)); but see 24 C.J.S. Criminal Law § 2201 (“The incarceration of juveniles, allegedly for the purpose of rehabilitation, constitutes cruel and unusual punishment when the reality of the imprisonment is punishment, not treatment, as where juveniles are incarcerated in an adult facility unable to provide treatment and counseling, for the sole purpose of frightening them and directing them away from a life of crime. However, it has also been declared that the incarceration of a convicted minor with adult prisoners does not necessarily constitute cruel and unusual punishment. The same may also be true where a juvenile is tried and sentenced as an adult.”).
- Nicole I. Pittman & Quyen Nguyen, A Snapshot of Juvenile Sex Offender Registration and Notification Laws: A Survey of the United States (2011), available at 32 http://www.njjn.org/uploads/digital-library/SNAPSHOT_web10-28.pdf.
- See Amy E. Halbrook, Juvenile Pariahs, 65 Hastings L.J. 1 (December 2013).
- In re C.P., 131 Ohio St. 3d 513 (Ohio 2012) (automatic lifetime registration for juveniles was unconstitutional under the Ohio and U.S. Constitutions); but seeIn re J.W., 204 Ill. 2d 50 (mandatory lifetime sex offender registration for juvenile was not unconstitutional).
About the Author
Shobha L. Mahadev is a staff attorney and project director at the Children and Family Justice Center at Northwestern University School of Law’s Bluhm Legal Clinic where she directs a policy initiative relating to long-term sentencing of youth. She also represents youth and adults in juvenile and criminal matters, as well as in post-conviction and appeal proceedings, and supervises law students.