Professor Kristin Henning Wins 2013 Robert E. Shepherd Jr. Award for Excellence in Juvenile Defense

November 7, 2013 —

Professor Kristin Henning

The National Juvenile Defender Center has honored Georgetown Law Professor Kristin Henning with the 2013 Robert E. Shepherd Jr. Award for Excellence in Juvenile Defense. The accolade recognizes Henning's dedication to juvenile representation, as well as her leadership in promoting this area of legal work on the local, regional, and national levels.

“The Robert E. Shepherd Jr. Award was created to celebrate outstanding dedication and advocacy in the field of juvenile defense for those who are committed to fulfilling the promise of In re Gault — the Supreme Court case that established a child’s right to due process, including the right to counsel. Professor Henning embodies that kind of commitment and walks in Bob Shepherd’s footsteps every day," said Patricia Puritz, Executive Director of the National Juvenile Defender Center. "Her tireless energy on behalf of youth in DC and across the country is a testament to Shepherd’s legacy of insisting upon providing constitutional protections for young people who come into conflict with the law. We were extremely proud to present this award to Professor Henning for her outstanding commitment to juvenile defense through her work in the Georgetown Law Juvenile Justice Clinic, and as co-director of our regional Mid-Atlantic Juvenile Defender Center.”

As co-director of the Juvenile Justice Clinic at Georgetown University Law Center, Henning provides guidance and oversight to law students representing children accused of crime and delinquency. Beyond the law school, Henning trains juvenile defenders across the country, engages in research across a broad range of issues affecting children, and contributes to policy debates concerning adolescent crime. 

She has advocated for children throughout her career — when she joined the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia in 1997, Henning helped organize a Juvenile Unit designed to meet the multi-disciplinary needs of youth in the justice system. She then served as the unit's lead attorney from 1998 to 2001. Henning’s most recent article, Criminalizing Normal Adolescent Behavior in Communities of Color: The Role of Prosecutors in Juvenile Justice Reform, appears at 98 Cornell L. Rev. 383-462 (2013). Henning has also published articles about victims’ rights in juvenile court, parental consent in the Fourth Amendment context, and the ethical obligations of juvenile defense counsel, among other topics.   

The Juvenile Justice Clinic at Georgetown Law was founded in 1973, making it one of the first law school-based legal clinics specializing in children's issues. The National Juvenile Defender Center was created in 1999 to respond to the critical need to build the capacity of the juvenile defense bar, and to improve access to counsel and quality of representation for children in the justice system.