Recently, the United States Department of Justice National Institute of Corrections published a report, "You're An Adult Now. Youth in Adult Criminal Justice Systems," which can be found at http://static.nicic.gov/Library/025555.pdf. When I was Executive Director of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, I sat on the board of ReDeploy Illinois, the state's policy team to help keep juvenile offenders in the community rather than the juvenile (and adult) correctional system.
The NIC report is significant in its findings. It states that nearly one-quarter of a million youth under age 18 are in the adult criminal justice system each year. Youth transferred into the adult corrections system subsequently are re-arrested at a higher rate than those who remain in the juvenile justice system and that transferring youth to adult corrections may run counter to correctional and rehabilitative goals.
Additionally, with respect to Cook County, the NIC study stated figures claiming that of the 3,300 youth aged 16-17 who were in the jurisdiction of the adult court over a four-year period, 887 of the youth received probation for the offenses of which they were convicted. Those youth were presumably sentenced to adult probation, where services were, again, presumably less tailored to their needs.
The report further suggested that fiscal incentives to improve community-based supervisions, such as those in Illinois, have improved public safety and reduced costs.
When the first Juvenile Court was started in Chicago, its purpose was to rehabilitate youth and invest in future productive citizens. The NIC report, although encouragingly touting the successes of ReDeploy Illinois, shows that we still need to invest in our future. If youth are receiving probation as adults, special services should be provided to help keep them from becoming recidivists. Additionally, when representing a young person, counsel should be aware of trends as well as alternatives as a zealous advocate for the client.
Today, the United States Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Jones, 565 U.S.__, (No. 10-1259) that law enforcement's attachment of a global positioning system tracking device on an automobile and its use to monitor that car's movements constitutes a search under the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The Court reiterated that the Fourth Amendment protects the "right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures" and held that the Government's physical intrusion on an effect to obtain information constituted a search.
In Jones, the Government secured a warrant that permitted it to place a GPS device on Jones' wife's car in the District of Columbia within 10 days of the issuance of the warrant. Instead, law enforcement installed the device on the 11th day in the State of Maryland. Law enforcement then tracked the vehicle's movements for 28 days. Jones and others were subsequently indicted on drug trafficking conspiracy charges.
With the advent of new technology, it is significant that the Court has ruled that installation of GPS devices on automobiles are covered by the protection of the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution. The full opinion may be found at
The United States Supreme Court recently limited the ability for defendant's to successfully challenge a suggestive or unreliable identification in Perry v. New Hampshire , ___ U.S._____, (Slip Opinion 10-8974), January 11, 2012. In an opinion written by Justice Ginsburg, the Court listed some of the guarantees of a fair trial, "the right to counsel, compulsory process to obtain defense witnesses, and the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses for the prosecution." The Court further stated that admission of evidence in a state trial is generally dictated by state law and that the "reliability of relevant testimony typically falls within the province of the jury to determine."
The Court opined, however, that additionally , due process provides a check on the admission of eyewitness identification but only when the police arrange suggestive circumstances leading a witness to identify a particular person as the person who committed a crime.
The Court addressed a long line of cases dealing with suggestive and unreliable identifications and specifically held that when no improper law enforcement activity is involved, it is sufficient to test reliability of identification testimony through presence of counsel at post-indictment lineups, cross examination of witnesses, protective rules of evidence, jury instructions on the fallibility of eyewitness identification and the requirement that guilt be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The Court stated that its unwillingness to enlarge the domain of due process challenges on eyewitness identifications was in large part due to the fact that a jury, not a judge, would traditionally determine the reliability of evidence. The Court, therefore, decided that police misconduct would trigger pre-trial due process concerns.
I have posted that Illinois' eavesdropping statute makes it a felony to audio-tape police officers working in public. Legislation has been introduced to change the statute. Now, the legislation is garnering newspaper support in that the Chicago Sun-Times supports changes in the law. http://www.suntimes.com/opinions/9995701-474/editorial-time-to-allow-recordings-of-police-officers-at-work.html
I have posted regarding Illinois' controversial eavesdropping statute. In Illinois, persons can be prosecuted for audio-taping a police officer engaged in official duties while in public if the officer does not consent to the taping. According to the Chicago Tribune, one state legislature has filled a bill to allow audio-taping. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-eavesdropping-bill-20120113,0,4634735.story