News & Special Events
Dash Human Rights Conference Explores the
Protection of Children
under International and Domestic Law
Georgetown Law’s Juvenile Justice Clinic and Human Rights Institute partnered on April 11 to host the annual Samuel Dash Conference on Human Rights, this year entitled “Protecting the Rights of Children: International Norms and Domestic Opportunities.”
Professor Andrew I. Schoenholtz, who directs the Human Rights Institute, opened the day’s program by highlighting the fact that rights activists have continued their important work despite the United States’ outlier status as the only UN member state not to have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. During the morning panel, Georgetown Law students from the Human Rights Institute Fact-Finding Project formally released their report, “Ensuring Every Undocumented Student Succeeds: A Report on Access to Public Education for Undocumented Children.”
The keynote address was presented by Dr. Susan Bissell, who directs the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children. Dr. Bissell used the opportunity to reflect on her many years of working within UNICEF to protect children from violence and emphasized that “we must help children live completely, wholly, safely, and with dignity.” Speaking of the new Sustainable Development Goals, she noted that “the rallying cry is clear; we need and want to create a world where it is safe to be a child.
Leading the afternoon panel of children’s rights experts, Professor Wally Mlyniec provided an overview of the international legal framework protecting children – and noted that while the United States has not yet ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the process can often take many years because of the multiple steps required under a federal system of government. He also acknowledged the political realities of the current moment.
The afternoon discussion featured a number of prominent experts who work to protect the rights of children across a range of practice areas, including Georgetown Law Alumna Amy Fettig of the American Civil Liberties Union, Marsha Levick of the Juvenile Law Center, Maria Woltjen of the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, and Margaret Wurth of Human Rights Watch. Each of the discussants brought their own experiences and perspectives and engaged with the students, faculty, and practitioners in attendance on the substantive and political opportunities and challenges facing the children’s rights movement.
In closing the program, Christine James-Brown joined the conference as a member of the Steering Committee of the Campaign for the U.S. Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. On behalf of the Campaign, Ms. James-Brown announced a new #SendtheCRC initiative designed to urge the Obama Administration to send the Convention to the Senate before the end of the year.
The entire conference can be viewed here.
Juvenile Justice Clinic Celebrates Mlyniec, Henning and an Anniversary
June 9, 2015 —
“I remember various investigations and misadventures,” one alumna wrote of her days as a student in the Juvenile Justice Clinic. Another alum recalled his clients. But the fondest memories were reserved for those who made the clinic what it is today: Professors Wally Mlyniec (L'70) and Kris Henning (LL.M.'97).
One hundred and seventy alumni and friends of the Juvenile Justice Clinic returned to Georgetown Law on the evening of Saturday, June 6, to celebrate a long-awaited “40-ish” anniversary of the clinic, which launched during the 1973-1974 academic year. Phil Inglima (C’84, L’88) served as master of ceremonies for the celebration, which featured reminisces and reflections from Mlyniec, Henning, Dean William M. Treanor, former Dean Judy Areen, Associate Dean Jane Aiken and many clinic alumni.
Areen recalled how the early 1970s were a changing and often turbulent time: Cambodia, Kent State, Watergate, Nixon’s resignation. Against this backdrop Areen, charged with hiring a director for the groundbreaking new clinic, chose Mlyniec, who was then just a few years out of law school. Today, he’s a leader in clinical education, the Lupo-Ricci professor of clinical legal studies and former associate dean for Georgetown Law’s top-ranked clinical programs.
Mlyniec said that Areen’s vision became “larger than [we] could imagine,” having a 40-year impact on the law, legal education, Georgetown itself and, of course, the lives of so many.
“They haunt the deepest parts of our minds…” Mlyniec said of the juvenile clinic clients, some of whom are between 50 and 60 years old today. “We don’t know what happens to them; all we can do is hope for the best.”
Thousands of young people over the years have been represented by more than 600 Georgetown Law students, including the Hon. Mary Lupo (L’74), the first student to be selected for the clinic in 1973; supporters Lynn Hiestand (L’75) and Elizabeth Weiser (C’86, L’92); 42 E. Barrett Prettyman fellows; and Lauren Dollar (L’13), the clinic’s first and current juvenile defense and policy fellow.
Former students described some of their experiences in the clinic in a video; others wrote down their memories on cards that graced the dinner tables. Representatives from 36 of the 42 clinic classes showed up in person.
“You worked hard, and I was sometimes hard on you … sometimes you won and sometimes you lost, but you always fought the good fight,” Mlyniec told the crowd. “You fought the good fight for beleaguered young children whose lives are buffeted every day from every side, children who deserve more.”
Aiken, the associate dean for experiential education, made the bittersweet announcement that as of July 1, Mlyniec will be stepping down as director and assuming the role of senior counsel. Henning, who served as a Prettyman-Stiller Fellow at Georgetown Law during 1995-97 and returned to Georgetown in 2001 to co-direct the Juvenile Justice Clinic, will take over as director.
Henning — who received a standing ovation and much praise along with Mlyniec and longtime executive assistant Wanda Duarte — described the work of the clinic going forward, including the new Georgetown Juvenile Justice Initiative to train practicing attorneys and shape policy. (For more information, click here.) “The end game is to win for all the kids,” Henning said.
As Areen noted, the actions we take today might be still sending ripples into the future 40 years later. “I did the indispensable thing … I hired Wally Mlyniec, …” she said. “I want to wish you the joy of celebrating 40 years from now something you are working on today.”
SEALING JUVENILE RECORDS MANUAL PUBLISHED
The Georgetown Law Juvenile Justice Clinic has published a guide to sealing juvenile records in the District of Columbia. The manual is available to juvenile defenders, as well as to youth and their families. The manual includes an outline of the various statutory mechanisms by which one can seal juvenile records in DC, the reasons to seal your record, sample motions, and step-by-step instructions. Please contact Lauren Dollar at email@example.com to request a copy.
JTIP SUMMER ACADEMY 2014
June 22-28, 2014
The Juvenile Justice Clinic and the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) convened the inaugural weeklong Juvenile Training Immersion Program (JTIP) Summer Academy 2014 at Georgetown Law from June 22-28, 2014. The Academy provided comprehensive training on substantive law and litigation skills for new and experienced juvenile defenders, aiming to raise the quality of representation for accused youth nationwide.
Juvenile defenders from 28 states attended, working closely with 12 certified JTIP trainers. The training utilized the 40-volume JTIP national training curriculum that was developed by the National Juvenile Defender Center and funded by the MacArthur Foundation. Georgetown Law and the Juvenile Justice Clinic's own Kristin Henning was a lead author of the curriculum.
"The JTIP curriculum has already begun to raise the quality of indigent defense representation for children in the United States," said Henning. "We were thrilled to partner with the National Juvenile Defender Center to continue this important work."
DC JUVENILE PANEL TRIAL PRACTICE GROUP MARKS 8 MONTHS
The DC Juvenile Panel Trial Practice Group marked it's 8 month anniversary in July 2014, offering monthly CLE trainings and biweekly newsletters with case law updates from the DC Court of Appeals and a helpful practice tip to the court-appointed DC bar. Training topics have included managing the juvenile caseload, common ethical dilemmas facing the juvenile defender, challenging identification evidence, investigation and social media, sealing juvenile records, and making creative detention and disposition arguments. The next CLE workshop will take place Fall 2014. Stay tuned for further information.
- Implementing Miller: Challenging Juvenile LWOP Conference (11/14/12 & 11/15/12)
- "Keeping Children in the Community" Conference (7/13/10)
- Colloquium on U.N. Convention on Rights of the Child (6/1/09 & 6/2/09)
- Symposium on the Intersection of Poverty and Delinquency (3/26/09)
- A Call to Action for Juvenile Justice, a Town Hall Meeting (11/6/08)
- Youth Transferred to Adult Court: "The Effect on Public Safety, Recidivism, and Rehabilitation" Conference (7/21/08)
- Commemorative event for In re Gault (4/14/08)
- U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (11/16/07)
- After Roper v. Simmons (1/24/06)