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Juvenile Justice

Jail HandsNACDL fully supports the concept that juveniles are different than adults and should be treated as such. NACDL encourages legislators to promote polices that evaluate juvenile family history and brain development prior to developing legislation that could in effect have profound implications on a juvenile's future. 

JLWOP States 

The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth - Infographic on Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP) States 

Trial Defense Guidelines 

NACDL was pleased to assist in the development and sought subsequent Board approval of Trial Defense Guideline Representing a Child Client Facing a Possible Life Sentence. This valuable resource provided defense attorneys with a standard in defending juveniles who are facing the possibility of a life sentence.

Kent v. United States 

March 2016 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Kent v. United States.
Listen to the audio of the case here.

The Case:

Morris A. Kent Jr., a 16-year-old boy, was detained and interrogated by the police in connection with several incidents involving robbery and rape. After Kent admitted some involvement, the juvenile court waived its jurisdiction. This allowed Kent to be tried as an adult. Kent was indicted in district court. Kent moved to dismiss the indictment because the juvenile court did not conduct a "full investigation" before waiving jurisdiction, as required by the Juvenile Court Act. A jury found Kent guilty and sentenced him to serve 30-90 years in prison. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed, although it noted that the juvenile court judge provided no reason for the waiver.


In 2012 NACDL hosted several webcasts providing essential instruction for defense lawyers representing juveniles at sentencing in adult court. The webinars were entitled Representing Juveniles at Sentencing in Adult Court in the Post- Roper, Graham and Miller Era.  Click here to view the webinars online.  

In addition, in late September 2012 NACDL hosted webinars entitled:

  • Communicating with a Juvenile Client: JTIP Lesson on Interviewing and Counseling Youth 
  • Incorporating Adolescent Brain & Behavioral Development Science into All Stages of the Criminal Proceeding                                                       
  • Strategies for Keeping Youth Out of Adult Jails and Prisons: Bail, Sentencing and Post-Sentencing Advocacy

Click here to view these webinars

Supported by funding from the Foundation for Criminal Justice and the Ford Foundation.



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