Justia Juvenile Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
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Indiana statutes provided a fast and confidential judicial bypass procedure that is supposed to allow a small fraction of pregnant, unemancipated minors seeking abortions to obtain them without the consent of or notice to their parents, guardians, or custodians, Ind. Code 16-34-2-4(b). In 2017, Act 404 added a parental notification requirement: Parents must be given prior notice of the planned abortion unless the judge also finds such notice is not in the minor’s “best interests” unlike the judicial bypass of parental consent, which may be based on either maturity or best interests. The district court issued a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the new notice requirements, finding it likely to “create an undue burden for a sufficiently large fraction of mature, abortion-seeking minors in Indiana.” The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Indiana’s notice law creates a substantial risk of a practical veto over a mature yet unemancipated minor’s right to an abortion. This practical veto appears likely to impose an undue burden for the unemancipated minors who seek to obtain an abortion without parental involvement via the judicial bypass. Indiana has made no effort to support with evidence its claimed justifications or to undermine with evidence Planned Parenthood’s showing about the likely effects of the law. View "Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, Inc. v. Adams" on Justia Law

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Iowa closed the Iowa Girls State Training School. Palmer, Director of the Iowa Department of Human Services, subsequently contracted to use the Wisconsin Girls State Training School (Copper Lake). Plaintiffs claim that, since its 2011 opening, Cooper Lake “has had a very high turnover rate of employees,” leading to “over-worked and untrained staff” and has received criticism from Wisconsin judges regarding its “sordid” and “inhumane” treatment of juveniles. Iowa juvenile courts ordered Plaintiffs to be placed at Copper Lake in 2015. Both were 16 years old. Plaintiffs claim that Copper Lake subjected them to prolonged “isolation,” and that they received little or no educational instruction. Both attempted suicide. Plaintiffs also claim they were subjected to excessive force and that staff sprayed them with mace on multiple occasions. Plaintiffs sued under 42 U.S.C. 1983 for cruel and unusual punishment, excessive force, and deprivation of due process. The Seventh Circuit reversed the dismissal of their claims. The district court acted prematurely in deciding Palmer’s entitlement to qualified immunity at the motion to dismiss stage. At the time plaintiffs were allegedly in Palmer’s custody, isolation of pre-trial juvenile detainees not “reasonably related to a legitimate governmental objective”could rise to the level of a constitutional violation. On the record, it is impossible to determine whether such a constitutional violation occurred in plaintiffs’ cases. View "Reed v. Palmer" on Justia Law

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D.D.B., then under 18 years of age, with an adult accomplice robbed a pharmacy and was charged with acts of juvenile delinquency that, if committed by an adult, would be robbery, 18 U.S.C. 1951(a), and carrying, using, and brandishing a firearm during a robbery, 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(1)(A)(ii). Transfer to adult proceedings is mandatory if the juvenile committed the underlying act after his sixteenth birthday; the charged offense is a felony that “has as an element thereof the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another”; and the juvenile has previously been found guilty of a crime that “has as an element thereof the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another,” 18 U.S.C. 5032. The government alleged that D.D.B. had convictions for Indiana attempted robbery and burglary, Class B felonies, and for conspiracy to commit robbery. The district court addressed only the attempted robbery offense and concluded that it required transfer. The Seventh Circuit vacated. The court erred by assuming that any attempted violent felony is itself a violent felony and failed to consider the lack of an intent requirement in Indiana’s crime of attempted robbery. No finder-of-fact found that D.D.B. had an intent to use, attempt to use, or threatened the use of physical force against a person. On remand, the government may raise the other predicate crimes of burglary and conspiracy to commit robbery. View "United States v. D. D. B." on Justia Law

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Halbach disappeared on Halloween 2005. Her family contacted police after she did not show up at the photography studio where she worked and her voice mailbox was full. Officers focused on the Avery Auto Salvage yard in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, the last place she was known to have gone. Avery, the son of the business owner, lived on the property. That day, Avery called Auto Trader magazine, for whom Halbach worked, to request that she photograph a minivan that he wished to sell. The police suspected that Avery’s 16‐year‐old nephew, Dassey, who also lived on the property, might have information about Halbach’s murder and called Dassey into the police station. After many hours of interrogation over several days, Dassey confessed that he, with Avery, had raped and murdered Halbach and burned her body. Before trial, Dassey recanted his confession. The state failed to find any physical evidence linking him to the crime. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. After unsuccessful state appeals and post‐conviction proceedings, Dassey sought federal habeas relief, claiming that he did not receive effective assistance of counsel and that his confession was not voluntary. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court in granting relief. The state court did not apply the proper standard; juvenile confessions require more care. “If a state court can evade all federal review by merely parroting the correct Supreme Court law, then the writ of habeas corpus is meaningless.” View "Dassey v. Dittmann" on Justia Law