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Pacific Juvenile Defender Center

Added Aug 12, 2009

200 Pine Street, Suite 300
San Francisco, CA 94104

Phone (415) 543-3379 ext. 3924

The Pacific Juvenile Defender Center (PJDC) is the regional affiliate of the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) for California and Hawaii.   NJDC 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.  PJDC carries out that work on behalf of defenders in the Pacific region.

Partners and clients

PJDC provides support to juvenile trial lawyers, appellate counsel, and law school clinical programs.  The Center also works with juvenile justice system professionals in the Pacific region on resource, policy and legislative issues.  At the national level, PJDC works closely with the MacArthur Models for Change and Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network (JIDAN) sites in developing juvenile defense capacity.

Strategies and services

PJDC engages in a multi-faceted approach to improving juvenile defense capacity and quality of representation, including:

     Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network (JIDAN).  PJDC is the locus of activity for this multi-year project aimed at developing replicable strategies for improving juvenile defense policy and practice. The California team works with the National Juvenile Defender Center, colleagues in the Massachusetts, Florida and New Jersey sites, and Models for Change core states. The California team is led by the Youth Law Center, and includes members from the Center for Families, Children and the Courts of the California Administrative Office of the Courts; the Loyola Law School Center for Juvenile Law & Policy; the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office; the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office; and Human Rights Watch.

     Amicus Committee.  The PJDC Amicus Committee tracks case law and legislative developments and coordinates juvenile defense efforts on issues of importance to California defenders, including drafting and collaborating on amicus briefs; monitoring pending legislation and coordinating opposition or support when needed; and providing a forum for discussing legislative and policy issues.

     Attorney Subject Matter Experts.  PJDC offers subject matter and appellate experts who provide trial support to members either through the defender listserv or on an individual basis by telephone or electronic mail.  It is composed of practitioners who have distinguished themselves in particular subject matter areas or in appellate practice.  This service is taking on new importance as PJDC expands its membership to underserved parts of the juvenile defense community through its JIDAN work.

     Training and Publications.  PJDC’s Training and Publications Committee develops, coordinates and implements PJDC’s juvenile training curriculum, including large-scale conferences, targeted small group trainings, web- and phone-based trainings, and print publications.  The Committee’s work is delivered through a series of subcommittees, including a Training Coordination and Development Subcommittee, a Publications Subcommittee, and an Appellate Subcommittee.

     Web-Based Resource Center.  PJDC operates an extensive Web-Based Resource Center for members.  The Resource Center offers a complete directory of PJDC members around the state; trial practice materials, including sample motions and briefs; materials on representing youth in specific kinds of cases or on particular issues (including transfer to adult court, sex offenses, homicides, gang cases, competence/mental health, immigration, and post-disposition issues); policy reports and national studies; opinions in significant juvenile law cases; materials on advocacy in relation to institutional conditions and treatment; and conference training materials.

     Juvenile Defender Listserv. PJDC’s member listserv provides an active forum for juvenile defenders and advocates throughout California and Hawaii to post queries and share ideas, experiences and knowledge about a broad array of juvenile justice topics.  The listserv provides a vehicle for prompt trial support, announcements, and updates on cases and legislative developments.

     Policy Development.  PJDC members develop and comment on proposed changes in juvenile justice policy; participate in informational legislative hearings; serve on multi-agency task forces; work with staff from the Center for Families, Children and the Courts on policy issues; and engage in policy work with the National Juvenile Defender Center and other advocacy organizations.

Areas of expertise

  • Training and Professional Development
  • Litigation Support
  • Public Education
  • Policy Development and Systemic Advocacy