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Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Welcome The Juvenile Justice Blog To The Blogosphere

As I prepared to start teaching Evidence in 2007, I was surprised to see that there was no blog on the topic of evidence law. I thus decided to start this blog to note recent developments in evidence law, precedent, and scholarship. The same type of thinking led Tamar Birckhead, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law, to launch the terrific new blog, the Juvenile Justice Blog (which you can also follow on Twitter and Facebook).

Juvenile Justice Blog

Cropped-Juvenile_detention_center2

According to Professor Birckhead,

While I have been a faithful reader of law professors' criminal law blogs, I've been acutely aware of the fact that there hasn't been one with a specific focus on juvenile justice.  My goal is to feature the latest legal scholarship, conference news, and discussion of case law in this area.  I hope the site will be of use and relevance to other legal scholars as well as practitioners, advocates, and anyone else interested in the ways in which our society approaches young people in conflict with the law.  

I find that the best blogs combine two features: (1) a true expert in the field; and (2) critical analysis rather than just posting links. With the Juvenile Justice Blog, it is safe to say that we are in good hands. Before coming to UNC, Professor Birckhead was a public defender for a decade, and she is currently a member of (1) the executive council of the Juvenile Justice and Children's Rights Section of the North Carolina Bar Association; (2) the advisory board for the North Carolina Juvenile Defender; and (3) the Juvenile Defender Section of the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers.

At UNC, Professor Birckhead has taught classes such as a Juvenile Justice Clinic and Juvenile Courts & Delinquency, and she has published several works in the field of juvenile justice, including

CHILDREN, PARENTS AND THE LAW: PUBLIC AND PRIVATE AUTHORITY IN THE HOME, SCHOOLS, AND JUVENILE COURTS (with L. Harris & L. Teitelbaum) (Aspen 3d ed. 2012); 

•The Challenges of Defending Juveniles in Delinquency Court, in AN UNFULFILLED PROMISE: JUVENILE JUSTICE IN AMERICA 88–104 (Cathryn Crawford ed., 2012);

Delinquent by Reason of Poverty, 38 WASH. U. J.L. & POL’Y 53–107 (2012);

Juvenile Justice Reform 2.0, 20 J.L. & POL’Y 15 (2011)

Culture Clash: The Challenge of Lawyering across Difference in Juvenile Court, 62 RUTGERS L. REV. 959–991 (2010);

North Carolina, Juvenile Court Jurisdiction, and the Resistance to Reform, 86 N.C. L. REV. 1443–1500 (2008);

The Age of the Child: Interrogating Juveniles after Roper v. Simmons, 65 WASH. & LEE L. REV. 385–450 (2008); and

•White Paper, Action for Children N.C., New Research Analyzes N.C.’s Century-Long Refusal to Include 16- and 17-Year-Olds in Juvenile Court (Nov. 12, 2008).  

In just her first week of posting, Professor Birckhead has made clear that there will be a good deal of depth and breadth to her blog. In one post, she uses an e-mail from former students as an avenue through which to explore whether juvenile justice practitioners and advocates are making a difference in the lives of their clients. In another post, the recent fact sheet Drug Courts affords Professor Birckhead an opportunity to discuss "juvenile specialty courts." And, in a third post, Professor Birckhead delves into questions regarding the raising of the age for juvenile court jurisdiction in North Carolina.

On the blog, you will also find posts about juvenile justice studiesjuvenile justice job openingsjuvenile justice articlesjuvenile justice booksjuvenile justice conferences, and juvenile justice commentary. In each of these posts, you can feel Professor Birckhead's passion for juvenile justice, and it is that passion combined with her insight that makes her blog bookmark-worthy for anyone with an interest in juvenile justice.

Professor Birckhead describes the blog as follows:

The purpose of this blog is to provide a central source for the latest news, information, scholarship, and commentary on issues related to juvenile justice in the United States.

It is intended for lawyers, academics, advocates, students, and all others interested in juvenile court practice, the fair sentencing of youth, and the criminalization of poverty, among other related topics.

And, over e-mail, she explained to me that  

I've been in the legal academy for over eight years now, I've written quite a bit in this area (traditional legal scholarship, a casebook, and many op-eds), and I think I have a good sense of what other folks might find engaging and thought-provoking.  Also, having recently earned tenure, it seemed like a good opportunity to put myself out there in a more visible way and to take some risks.  And, maybe most importantly, it has been a lot of fun -- both the creation and editing of the site as well as having a forum for a looser, more creative style of writing. 

-CM

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