- Teaches young juvenile public defenders and clinical law students to master the skill set necessary to try a delinquency case before a judicial officer.
- Utilizes a juvenile and California-specific set of case materials, including all police documents, photographs, diagrams, and supplemental statements.
- Can be used to simulate various transactions in a juvenile delinquency (or adult criminal) case, including client interviews, arraignment, detention hearings, negotiations, dispositions, and every transaction in a trial from opening statements, direct and cross-examination, and closing arguments.
- Online video demonstrations in the role of both the prosecution and defense are available for the main transactions in a trial. These videos may be used to critique and respond to prosecutor questions and argument, to model and reinforce public defender skills, and to set up discussion of various techniques.
- The specific skills demonstrated include: chapter method of cross-examination, impeachment with prior court transcript, impeachment with an inconsistent statement in a police report, introduction of a photograph, map, and diagram, refreshing recollection, and a live in-court demonstration.
Download the Juvenile Defender Trial Skills Training Program Manual.
CREATED BY SAMANTHA BUCKINGHAM
- Director of the Juvenile Justice Clinic at Loyola Law School – Los Angeles. In this capacity, Ms. Buckingham trains and supervises students who represent clients in juvenile delinquency courts in LA County.
- Trial Attorney at the Public Defender Service of D.C. (“PDS”). PDS is a model public defender office. At PDS, Ms. Buckingham tried serious and violent felonies, including homicide cases and cases where her juvenile clients were charged as adults.
- Trains public defenders nationally through Gideon’s Promise, the National Juvenile Defender Center, and other defender organizations.
- Trains law students in the art of trial advocacy at Harvard Law School’s Trial Advocacy Workshop and in the Juvenile Justice Clinic at Loyola Law School – Los Angeles.
- Graduate of Stanford Law School and the University of Virginia.
Opening Statement as Prosecutor
This opening statement is an example of an opening statement by a prosecutor in a juvenile bench trial.
Opening Statement as Defense
This opening statement is an example of an opening statement by a defender in a juvenile bench trial. Instructors may want to discuss the difference between opening statements before a jury and in a bench trial. For instance, instructors may want to address the pros and cons of mentioning an issue like failure to fingerprint and what weight to afford that issue in an opening statement before a bench officer. Instructors will want to point out use of the phrases such as “the evidence will show” and “you will learn.” Additionally, instructors should note that the defense does not promise the testimony of her client, Mr. Han.
Direct of Officer Juanita Johnson as Prosecutor
The portion of the direct examination of Officer Johnson’s focuses on (1) her ability to observe the furtive gesture she observed Cohl Han make as she approached the blue mini cooper, (2) her discovery of the gun, and (3) an in-court identification of Cohl Han as the person who she saw making the furtive gesture. Instructors may want to contrast two examples involving the use and explanation of unfamiliar terminology. First, the prosecutor uses unfamiliar terminology when she asks the witness how far she was “vis a vis” Cohl Han. Instructors may want to suggest that perhaps it would be clearer and simpler to ask the witness how far she was “in relation to” Cohl Han. By contrast, when the officer uses the term “secret” to describe when Cohl Han moved as if to “secret something,” the prosecutor has the witness explain what she means by that term.
Cross of Officer Juanita Johnson as Defense
The portion of the cross examination of Officer Johnson focuses on her observations of Cohl Han’s movements as she approached the blue mini cooper. Instructors may want to highlight how the defender handles the witness when the witness does not directly answer the defender’s question.
Direct of Officer Bob Smith as Prosecutor
The portion of the direct examination of Officer Smith focuses on (1) accreditation, (2) his observation of a traffic violation made by the blue mini cooper, (3) refreshing his recollection as to the time of the stop (instructors may want to point out that attorney asks Officer Smith to explain unfamiliar terms, such as military time and references to “we”), (4) introduction of a hand-drawn diagram, and (5) introduction of an aerial map, (6) in-court identification of accused, and (7) his observations as he approached the blue mini cooper on the driver’s side of the car.
Cross of Officer Bob Smith as Defense
The portion of the cross examination of Officer Smith focuses on (1) access to the backseat of the police car, (2) impeachment with prior inconsistent statement in a police report, (3) impeachment with prior sworn testimony.
Direct of Cohl Han as Defense
The portion of the direct examination of Cohl Han focuses on (1) accreditation, (2) taking the sting out of an impeachable prior sustained petition (instructors may want to discuss strategy, timing of bringing up this line of questioning, and potential objections to the follow up questions about the prior sustained robbery petition, such as form of question and relevance), (3) how Cohl Han came to ride in the blue mini cooper, (4) Cohl Han’s relationship with the adult driver of the car, John Jackson, (5) how Cohl Han got into the blue mini cooper, (6) a demonstration of how Cohl Han got into the blue mini cooper, (7) an explanation of the movement made by Cohl Han (as observed by Officer Johnson), and (8) a denial of the allegation of gun.
Cross of Cohl Han as a Prosecutor
The portion of the cross examination of Cohl Han focuses on (1) an impeachment with a prior sustained juvenile petition, (2) his possession of alcohol, and (3) his motive to bring gun and drugs into the car.
Closing Statement as a Prosecutor
The portion of a closing statement demonstrated focuses on how a prosecutor could explain the difference between actual possession and constructive possession using the definitions provided by the jury instructions.
Closing Statement as Defense
The portion of a closing statement demonstrated focuses on how a defender could explain impeachment and credibility. Specifically, because Officer Smith was impeached on one issue (the windows), the fact finder (here the bench officer) may disbelieve Officer Smith on other issues of importance in the case (for instance that Officer Smith observed Cohl Han squirming around in the backseat of the police car).
The documents that follow are a series of documents regarding J.H., a juvenile, who was accused of killing his father. When J.H. was arrested, he waived his Miranda rights and gave a statement. The statement was given after his rights were explained to him and his stepmother. In the following documents, J.H.’s defense counsel argues that the stepmother, who had just lost her husband at the hands of her stepson, should not have been able to assist J.H. in his decision-making. Additionally, the defense argues that J.H. lacked the capacity to understand his decision to waive his rights based on his young age—he was only 10 years old at the time—his lack of understanding in his actions, and his prior history as a victim of abuse. J.H. claimed he killed his father because he was abusive towards J.H. and several other family members. J.H. also claims that, on the night in question, his father claimed that he was going to remove all the smoke detectors form the home and burn it down while everyone slept. After being arrested, J.H. asked police “how many lives do people usually get?”
Note: These documents deal with statutes, rules, and case law in the state of California.
Letter in Support of Petition for Review per Rule 8.500(g)
This is a letter to the Court written by the Juvenile Law Center, the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth, the Center for Juvenile Law and Policy, and the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center for In re J.H. The letter discusses whether the Court gave proper consideration in determining J.H.’s ability, or lack thereof, to comprehend and validly waive his Miranda rights. The letter focuses on the importance of allowing juveniles to consult with counsel prior to waiving Miranda rights, particularly when the only adult that is able to consult with the juvenile prior to the waiver has a conflict of interest. Read the letter.
Petition for Review
This is a brief written to the Supreme Court of California that presents three issues for review: (1) whether the 10-year-old petitioner had the capacity to waive his Miranda rights; (2) whether Miranda rights validly waived when an officer gives erroneous advice that is presented to a parent with conflicting interests; and (3) whether it is a violation of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to allow the prosecution to use evidence from a compelled psychiatric examination for purposes other than the rebuttal of the juveniles psychiatric evidence when no counsel was present at the time of the examination. Read the brief.
Dissenting Statement by Justice Goodwin Liu
Although the Supreme Court of California denied to review the case of In re J.H., Justice Goodwin Liu wrote a dissenting statement to explain why he believed the case needed to be reviewed. Justice Liu reminded the Court that the issue of whether a 10-year-old can understand the concept of a knowing, voluntary, and intelligent waiver of Miranda affects hundreds of children each year in the state of California. He also reminded the Court that other than the case before them, there were no other cases in California that upheld a waiver of Miranda by a child younger than the age of 12. Justice Liu also believed that the Court should answer the questions of what role parents, guardians, or counsel should have in aiding the decision of a young juvenile to waive his or her Miranda rights and under what conditions is a parent or guardian unable to assist in a young juvenile in such a decision. Read the dissenting statement.
Brief of Amici Curiae by Juvenile Law Center and the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth in Support of Petitioner
This amici brief was written to the Supreme Court of the United States after the Supreme Court of California denied reviewing J.H.’s case. Petitioner argues that the Court should review the case because he was 10 years old when he waived his Miranda rights. Petitioner argues that J.H.’s waiver was not knowingly and voluntarily given and that the Court should review the issue based on the recent developmental and scientific research that confirms juveniles’ deficits in comprehending Miranda rights, susceptibility to coercion, and relative ineptitude with making the life-altering decision to waive the right to silence and counsel. Finally, Petitioner asks the Court to examine the role between waiver of Miranda and the potentially coercive effect of parental authority and how that impacts whether waiver was knowing and intentional. Read the brief.
Brief in Opposition
This is a brief, prepared on behalf of the State of California, opposing J.H.’s Petition for a Writ of Certiorari. The Government argues that J.H. made unprompted statements in the presence of law enforcement indicating he knew what he did was wrong. The Government also argues that when J.H. waived his Miranda rights, his waiver was knowing, intelligent, and voluntary. The Government argues that even if the statements were suppressed, the decision in the case would be unchanged because of the unprompted statements J.H. made. Read the brief.
Petition for a Writ of Ceriorari
This petition asks the Supreme Court of California to grant a Writ of Certiorari to J.H. The petition reviews evidence about how the Court should issue a decision in the case in relation to unresolved issues surrounding Miranda rights for juveniles. The petition also reviews scientific evidence about a young juvenile’s decision-making and how that impacts his or her understanding when it comes to a Miranda waiver. Read the petition.