CJLP in the News
The Center for Juvenile Law and Policy (CJLP) at Loyola Law School is pleased to announce the appointment of Sean Kennedy as its next Jo Kaplan and Larry Feldman Executive Director. The position carries with it an appointment to the Loyola Law School faculty as Associate Clinical Professor of Law. Kennedy succeeds Cyn Yamashiro, the Center’s founding director.
Since 2006, Sean Kennedy has served as the Federal Public Defender of the Central District of California, where he supervises over 92 attorneys and 150 supporting professionals. Prior to his appointment, Kennedy was the Chief of the office’s Capital Habeas Unit-- the first of its kind in the nation. While serving as the Federal Public Defender, Kennedy continued to litigate some of the office’s most difficult and high-impact cases and argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in Cullen v. Pinholster(2011).
The CJLP was founded in 2004 to foster systemic reform of the juvenile justice system through direct services, legislative advocacy, research and dialogue. The Center is comprised of three legal clinics. In the Juvenile Justice Clinic, Loyola students and faculty represent children in Los Angeles County delinquency proceedings in conjunction with on-staff social workers. The Youth Justice Education Clinic represents delinquency-involved youth to ensure they receive essential school services. The Juvenile Innocence & Fair Sentencing Clinic represents clients convicted as juveniles, in every stage of post-conviction, from innocence cases to resentencing and parole. Since its founding, the Center’s students and faculty have represented clients in more than 700 cases, contributing approximately 50,000 hours of pro bono service to the Los Angeles community.
Kennedy’s appointment comes at a particularly dynamic time in the juvenile justice reform movement. The juvenile sentencing landscape is undergoing rapid change, particularly in California. There are currently more than 6,000 juvenile offenders serving exceptionally long prison sentences, despite ample scientific evidence that juvenile offenders are uniquely capable of change and rehabilitation. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Miller v. Alabama and recently enacted California laws, Senate Bill 9 and Senate Bill 260, give nearly all of those juvenile offenders a meaningful opportunity to demonstrate rehabilitation and seek eventual release.
“It is a great privilege to join the Center at this time of acceleration and tremendous opportunity in the juvenile justice reform movement,” says Kennedy. “With its focus on high-quality representation in delinquency and post-conviction proceedings, the CJLP is the perfect place to advocate for social change and inspire and train the next generation of juvenile advocates, public defenders and public interest lawyers. “
Kennedy is already a celebrated teacher at Loyola Law School, where he has taught courses in appellate advocacy and capital punishment for 15 years as an adjunct professor. In 2013, Kennedy was named Criminal Defense Attorney of the Year by the Los Angeles County Bar Association.
Kennedy’s appointment will begin in August with the start of the 2014-2015 academic year.
CJLP Post-Graduate Fellow Argues Juvenile Case Before Illinois Supreme Court
The Center for Juvenile Law and Policy at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles is proud to report that on Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2014, Patricia Soung made oral arguments on behalf of Adolfo Davis before the Illinois Supreme Court.
Patricia currently serves as the CJLP Post-Graduate Fellow, where she represents juvenile clients in both the Juvenile Justice Clinic and the Juvenile Innocence and Fair Sentencing Clinic. Prior to her tenure here, and after her Soros Justice Fellowship at the Children and Family Justice Center, Northwestern University, Patricia served as staff attorney at the National Center for Youth Law, where she became the supervising attorney for Adolfo Davis. In 1996, Adolfo was tried and convicted as an adult for being an accomplice to murder when he was 14 years old, a conviction which under Illinois state law mandated a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. On Wednesday, following the state’s appeal of a 2012 Illinois Appellate Court decision in favor of Adolfo, Patricia argued before the Illinois Supreme Court that the 2012 US Supreme Court ruling in Miller v. Alabama applies retroactively to Adolfo’s case, rendering his Illinois sentence indisputably unconstitutional and entitling him to a resentencing hearing. Miller v. Alabama ruled that any sentence to die in prison for a youth violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.) Patricia argued that, as a rule of substance and a watershed rule, Miller v. Alabama retroactively protects the constitutional right of all youthful defendants to a consideration of age-related characteristics, mitigating circumstances, and the details of the offense when facing the possibility of a life sentence without parole, regardless of when the conviction occurred. As such, her argument is part of the national crusade against inhumane and unfair sentencing policies for children.
Media Coverage & More
Following her oral arguments, Patricia was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-juvenile-life-sentence-met-20140116,0,5786805.story) and by Linda Paul for public radio station WBEZ-FM (http://www.wbez.org/news/should-ban-mandatory-life-without-parole-encompass-old-juvie-cases-109516). More information regarding Adolfo Davis and the background of his case is available at Aljazeera America, which featured Adolfo and Patricia on America Tonight. An audiovisual archive of Patricia’s arguments is available here.
Center for Juvenile Law & Policy
919 Albany Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015
By CJLP Executive Director Cyn Yamashiro
Juvenile Injustice: $350 to Defend a Child, July 29, 2013