Students in the Youth Justice Clinic have recently assisted with cases including:
This client was arrested with five small bags of marijuana in his possession. He insisted that he had purchased the drugs for himself and had no plans to distribute or sell them. When the State charged him with possession with intent to distribute, the clinic student surveyed North Carolina case law on the indicia of simple possession versus distribution and concluded that the State lacked sufficient evidence to prove intent to distribute. She wrote a memorandum summarizing her findings and successfully argued the point in court. The judge dismissed so much of the petition that alleged intent to distribute, and the youth was placed on probation with drug treatment counseling.
This client was alleged to have broken into someone's home and stolen personal property, and he was charged with felony breaking and entering and larceny. The State's only evidence was a single fingerprint found on the exterior of a window that was alleged to match the youth's fingerprints. After consulting with forensic experts in fingerprint analysis and familiarizing herself with literature challenging the reliability of such evidence, the student advocate skillfully cross-examined the state's expert at trial. After the student delivered a persuasive closing argument, presenting the supporting case law on the topic, the judge found the child not delinquent and the case was dismissed.
This case required the clinic student to prepare extensively for a dispositional hearing in which the State and the court counselors were recommending that the youth be placed in juvenile incarceration (also known as "training school"). The student worked closely with the client's family and his treatment providers and amassed numerous reports and records that contained mitigating information. Ultimately, the court agreed with the student's assessment that training school was not warranted, and the youth was released from custody and placed in a therapeutic foster home.
This case involved a young man charged with possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. After speaking at length with the client, his mother and teachers, the clinic student had serious questions about the client's competence. She drafted an extremely detailed motion requesting both a competency evaluation and hearing. The motion was allowed, and after the hearing, during which the student effectively cross-examined the state's doctor who had evaluated the youth, the judge found the child not competent to proceed. The charges were then dismissed.