• SOG Resources for Civil Defenders

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    In preparation for the upcoming parent attorney and juvenile defender annual conferences, I reviewed the list of resources and information that we provide for defenders. Our main resource is the Indigent Defense Education (IDE) page on the School of Government (SOG) website. It contains a list of upcoming programs and links to manuals and other resources for public defenders and private assigned counsel.

    While speaking with my colleagues and reviewing the SOG site, I realized there are a number of other resources and materials useful for public defenders and private assigned counsel. SOG faculty focus on specific areas of law and work with particular groups of government officials and others who work in that area of law. I decided in this post to share some of the SOG resources outside of IDE that may assist defenders in representing indigent clients in civil cases.

    On the Civil Side

    We believe that civil cases are interesting, so we created the On the Civil Side blog in January 2015. SOG faculty and staff write about important and interesting issues for court personnel and lawyers working in civil court proceedings.  You can check the site on Wednesday and Friday for a new post. If you do not want to miss a post, you can use an RSS feed to send the new post automatically to an RSS reader or you can subscribe by email.

    Juvenile Law

    The juvenile law page of the SOG website provides materials for practitioners working in the area of juvenile delinquency and abuse, neglect and dependency (A/N/D) proceedings. Discussed below are a few resources that are beneficial for juvenile defenders and parent attorneys.

    The Juvenile Delinquency Case Compendium is an online searchable database and user-friendly tool. It includes a comprehensive collection of case annotations, and covers all published appellate court decisions related to juvenile delinquency proceedings in North Carolina from January 2007 to the present. LaToya Powell, Assistant Professor of Law and Government, created the juvenile delinquency case compendium and keeps it up to date.

    The Child Welfare Case Compendium (CWCC) is also an online searchable database and user-friendly tool designed for attorneys and judicial officials. It contains annotations of published opinions addressing child welfare issues decided by the North Carolina appellate courts and the U.S. Supreme Court from January 2014 to present. Sara DePasquale, Assistant Professor of Law and Government, created the CWCC and keeps it up to date.

    NC Juvenile Justice-Behavioral Health Information Sharing Guide (April 2015) by Mark Botts and LaToya Powell. The guide is a collaboration among multiple agencies and partners.  It is designed to address and improve information sharing procedures for youth involved in the juvenile justice and mental health/substance abuse systems.

    Beyond the Bench (podcast) Season 2: Homelessness, Neglect, and Child Welfare in North Carolina, hosted by Sara DePasquale (2016-2017). In six episodes, you will hear from people with different perspectives, including the judge, a parent attorney, the child’s guardian ad litem, county departments, and shelter providers. Each episode represents a different stage in the child welfare process.

    Stages of Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency Cases in North Carolina: From Report to Final Disposition by Sara DePasquale (2015). This reference guide is a good overview for any practitioner new to this area of law. It includes a color-coded chart of the A/N/D process and is available for purchase here.

    The social services page on the SOG website contains resources, publications and information in the area of social services law. One resource that caught my attention is the Social Services Confidentiality Research Tool. It is a useful tool for any practitioner who needs to locate and interpret applicable confidentiality laws.

    Guardianship and Civil Commitment

    The mental health page on the SOG website provides information about North Carolina’s mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services system. It includes an online learning program on Involuntary Commitment. The online program consists of four modules in which Mark Botts, Associate Professor of Public Law and Government, explains the legal criteria and procedure for involuntary commitment. The mental health page also provides links to AOC forms, publications, and other resources for involuntary commitments.

    Meredith Smith, Assistant Professor of Public Law and Government, provides written summaries of recent NC Court of Appeals and NC Supreme Court cases on incompetency and guardianship. The July 2017 Summaries are located here. Assistant Professor Smith primarily focuses on areas of law where clerks of superior court exercise judicial authority, and she consults with attorneys and clerks about their cases. You can find publications and other resources written by Assistant Professor Meredith Smith here.

    Child Support Contempt

    The IDE online learning library includes a course on the basics of contempt. In this introductory course, Michael Crowell, former Professor of Public Law and Government, explains the difference between criminal and civil contempt. He also discusses the sanctions available for both criminal and civil contempt and the procedures for both. Attorneys can view the online program free or for a fee if they want CLE credit.

    Michael Crowell’s bulletin on Contempt (Dec. 2015) provides a detailed discussion about civil and criminal contempt. It includes information about issues such as burden and standard of proof, willfulness, the right to jury trial, self-incrimination, and appeals.

    IDE Manuals

    Manuals for the substantive areas I discussed can be viewed or downloaded free at Indigent Defense Manual Series. Although the Indigent Defense Manual Series does not include a manual about child support contempt, defenders can access the Child Support Chapter from the North Carolina Trial Judges’ Bench Book, District Court. Links to the child support chapter and the A/N/D manual are on the Indigent Defense Manual Series site under Other Manuals. A new edition of the comprehensive A/N/D reference, manual will be available in the fall of this year.

    Please share with me your ideas for any other resources that SOG could create that would be helpful to practitioners working in these civil law areas.


    Austine M. Long joined the School of Government in 2013. Previously she worked as the drug court coordinator for the Montgomery County Circuit Court Adult and Juvenile Drug Courts in Maryland. She has served as a project director at the National Drug Court Institute (NDCI) and an assistant civil public defender for the 14th Judicial District in Durham, North Carolina. Prior to that, she was in private practice for six years, where she focused on family, criminal, and juvenile law. Long received a bachelor's degree in business administration from Towson State University and a JD from the University of Baltimore School of Law.
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