In March, the Juvenile Justice Clinic (JJC) and the Youth Justice Education Clinic (YJEC) secured the release of 16-year-old crossover client Mark M. just hours before Los Angeles juvenile detention centers were closed to family visits and days before schools across the county were closed indefinitely.
Mark’s arresting offense was proved by YJEC to be a manifestation of his disability, a disability (moreover) of which the school had been made aware but neglected to address appropriately. Consequently, the school halted expulsion proceedings. Nonetheless, the felony case against him stood.
Two weeks ago, Mark had his day in court, represented in his WebEx hearing in a socially distant way by recent clinical graduate Victoria (Tori) Hirsch, ’20, who remained dedicated to Mark’s case even after graduating and while studying for the bar exam. Thanks to his hard work and the vigilant advocacy of his JJC team, Mark obtained a deferred entry of judgment, an outcome with zero collateral consequences once he successfully completes probation.
Having overcome family tragedy and DCFS involvement, Mark is now on his way to graduating from high school and entering adulthood with a clean record and a fresh start. “Everything CJLP has been able to provide him made a difference,” says Tori. “Thanks to everyone on the team I’ve learned what great, thorough representation can look like!”
Special thanks to the Everychild Foundation (funders of the Everychild Integrated Education and Legal Advocacy Project), The Rose Hills Foundation and the Anthony and Jeannie Pritzker Foundation for making CJLP’s work with crossover youth possible.