Saturday, August 13, 2022

Play

Voting-rights groups sue AZ to block 'Election Security' Bills; U.S House vote expected today on the new Inflation Reduction Act; the Attorney General moves to release details on search of Trump s home.

Play

Local election officials detail how election misinformation is fueling threats; Media outlets ask a court to unseal the search warrant of Donald Trump's home; and the CDC changes its approach to COVID-19.

Play

Infrastructure funding is on its way, ranchers anticipate money from the Inflation Reduction Act, and rural America is becoming more diverse, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the leadership.

IL Advocates, Lawmakers Call for Ending Virtual Hearings in Juvenile Court

Play

Tuesday, March 15, 2022   

At the beginning of the pandemic, Illinois transitioned most of its court operations online. Now, two years later, advocates and lawmakers are calling for an end to virtual hearings in juvenile court.

State Rep. Will Guzzardi - D-Chicago - is the lead sponsor on a resolution urging the state supreme court to reinstate in-person hearings in juvenile court. He said virtual hearings create numerous barriers for kids and their attorneys.

"The findings and the research is pretty unequivocal," said Guzzardi, "that these virtual remote hearings just don't provide the same access to justice and they provide worse outcomes for young people."

The resolution would only ask the state Supreme Court to end virtual hearings for kids, not compel them. The measure acknowledges virtual hearings may be necessary in the future, as the pandemic ebbs and flows, but asks the state's high court to consider them a last resort.

Kristina Kersey - Senior Youth Defense Counsel with the Gault Center, a juvenile justice organization - said the virtual court system falsely assumes kids have equal access to stable internet and technology.

She explained that virtual hearings and meetings also can strain relationships between kids and the attorneys representing them in court.

"Building trust and rapport with young people is difficult in all situations as a defender," said Kersey. "But in these virtual realms they were having even greater difficulty."

A 2020 report by the Brennan Center for Justice suggests virtual court proceedings often lead to harsher sentences by judges.

In a series of six interviews the Juvenile Justice Initiative of Illinois conducted with kids in the juvenile justice system, all of the interviewees said they preferred in-person hearings and meetings over virtual alternatives.

Guzzardi said he's worried that, even as COVID-19 case rates creep toward their lowest point since last summer, many juvenile courts will continue using video hearings due to convenience.

"And that's what we're trying to avoid," said Guzzardi. "Because we understand that it's a tool that's necessary in an emergency, but there really is a lot lost in terms of access to justice."

The resolution passed out of the House's judiciary committee last week with a recommendation to adopt.




get more stories like this via email
Since the 2020 election, at least 19 states have passed 34 laws restrict­ing access to voting, according to the Brennan Center For Justice. (Orlowiski Designs/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Voting-rights advocates are suing the state of Arizona over new regulations they say make it harder for some people to register and would block thousa…


Social Issues

New Hampshire ranks second in the country on measures of child well-being, according to the new 2022 Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey …

Social Issues

Massachusetts ranks first in the nation for children's well-being, according to the 2022 Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation…


While there are continued disparities, an annual report says Minnesota has seen progress in elevating kids out of poverty, with 12% of children falling into that category. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Minnesota once again gets a high ranking among states for child well-being, but an annual report says the state's disparities remain a challenge…

Social Issues

Some measurements of children's well-being show warning signs in Iowa in the area of education. The numbers contrast with Iowa's overall ranking in a …

Pictured in the center is Francine "Fran" Pace, one of 11 graduates of this summer's Youth Leadership Academy for Iowans with disabilities. (Photo courtesy of DD Council).

Health and Wellness

Nearly a dozen Iowa youths with disabilities are taking newly developed leadership skills out into the world. A summer academy wrapped up this month…

Environment

A coalition of community organizations teamed up in Oregon to force a chronic polluter out of business, and bring environmental justice to a nearby …

Health and Wellness

During National Health Center Week, health-care advocates are highlighting the work Community Health Centers are doing to improve access to care …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright © 2021