SENATE, No. 905

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 1, 2010

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  SANDRA B. CUNNINGHAM

District 31 (Hudson)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Clarifies juvenile’s right to attorney representation; requires twelve month judicial review hearing when juvenile is placed out-of-home.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning juvenile justice and amending P.L.1982, c. 77. 

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  Section 20 of P.L.1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A-39) is amended to read as follows: 

     20.  a.  A juvenile shall have the right, as provided by the Rules of Court, to be represented by counsel at every critical stage [in the] of a court proceeding [which, in the opinion of the court may result in the institutional commitment of the juvenile]For the purposes of this act “critical stage of a court proceeding” shall include but not be limited to every court appearance by the juvenile; any interrogation, identification procedure, or other investigative activity involving the juvenile undertaken by law enforcement or prosecutorial personnel subsequent to the filing of the complaint; and the duration of any dispositional order entered by the court.

     b.  During every critical stage of a court proceeding in a delinquency case provided under subsection a. of this section, the waiving of any  right afforded to a juvenile shall be done in the following manner:

     (1) A juvenile who is found to be competent may not waive any rights except in the presence of and after consultation with counsel, and unless a parent has first been afforded a reasonable opportunity to consult with the juvenile and the juvenile's counsel regarding this decision.  The parent or guardian may not waive the rights of a competent juvenile.

     (2) Any such waiver shall be executed in writing or recorded.  Before the court may accept a waiver, the court shall question the juvenile and his counsel to determine if the juvenile is knowingly, willingly and voluntarily waiving his right.  If the court finds after questioning the juvenile that the waiver is not being made voluntarily and intelligently, the waiver shall be denied.

     (3) An incompetent juvenile may not waive any right.  A guardian ad litem shall be appointed for the juvenile who may waive rights after consultation with counsel for the juvenile, and the juvenile.

     (4) Waivers shall be executed in the language regularly spoken by the juvenile.

(cf:  P.L.1982, c.77, s.20)

 

2.  Section 26 of P.L.1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A‑45) is amended to read as follows:

     26. Retention of jurisdiction.

     a.     The court shall retain jurisdiction over any case in which it has entered a disposition under paragraph 7 of subsection b. or subsection c. of section 24 of P.L.1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A-43) or under section 25 of P.L.1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A-44) for the duration of that disposition of commitment or incarceration and may substitute any disposition otherwise available to it under section 24 of P.L.1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A-43) other than incarceration.

     b.    Except as provided for in subsection a., the court shall retain jurisdiction over any case in which it has entered a disposition under section 24 of P.L.1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A-43) and may at any time for the duration of that disposition, if after hearing, and notice to the prosecuting attorney, it finds violation of the conditions of the order of disposition, substitute any other disposition which it might have made originally.

     c.     The court may by its order retain jurisdiction in any other case.

     d.  Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of this section, whenever the court has entered a disposition directing the out-of-home placement of the juvenile pursuant to subsection b. or subsection c. of section 24 of P.L. 1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A-43) or section 25 of P.L. 1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A-44), the court shall conduct a placement review hearing no later than twelve months after entry of the dispositional order.  During this hearing, the court shall, at a minimum, review the treatment, care, and custody status of the juvenile; determine whether the placement agency is providing those mental health, substance abuse, educational, and other rehabilitative services necessary to promote the juvenile’s successful reintegration into the community; determine whether the placement continues to be consistent with the factors enumerated in subsection a. of section 24 of P.L.1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A-43); and, if necessary, modify the dispositional order in accordance with those factors.  Subsequent placement review hearings shall be conducted by the court at least once every twelve months throughout the duration of any out-of-home placement ordered by the court.

     e.  The Supreme Court of New Jersey may adopt Rules of Court governing the conduct of the placement review hearings mandated by subsection d. of this section.

(cf:  P.L.1995, c.280, s.13)

 

     3. This act shall take effect immediately. 

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     Under current law, a juvenile has a right to an attorney at every critical stage of a court proceeding in a delinquency case.  This bill clarifies that a juvenile has a right to an attorney during every court appearance by the juvenile, any interrogation, identification procedure, or other investigative activity undertaken by law enforcement or prosecutorial personnel subsequent to the filing of the complaint; and the duration of any dispositional order entered by the court.

     In addition, this bill establishes that when a court requires out-of-home placement of child in a delinquency case, the court shall conduct a placement review hearing no later than twelve months after entry of the dispositional order.  Under current law, although young people are routinely sentenced to serve three or more years in State custody, there is no court oversight of out-of-home placements in juvenile delinquency cases unless a specific request is made of the court.

     This provision would amend the current law in New Jersey to be consistent with Key Principle No. 13 of National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges’ Juvenile Delinquency Guidelines (2005), which states: “Juvenile Delinquency Court Judges Should Ensure Effective Post-Disposition Review Is Provided to Each Delinquent Youth as Long as the Youth is Involved in any Component of the Juvenile Justice System.” Such reviews are essential to monitor compliance with the court’s dispositional orders, to ascertain whether the difficulties that led young people into state custody are being addressed by the placement agency, and to ensure that out-of-home placement continues to be appropriate.  Such hearings are required in a number of other states, including New York and Pennsylvania.

     The bill provides that during the placement hearing, the court is to review the treatment, care, and custody status of the juvenile; determine whether the placement agency is providing those mental health, substance abuse, educational, and other rehabilitative services necessary to promote the juvenile’s successful reintegration into the community; and determine whether the placement continues to be consistent with the factors weighed in determining the original disposition of the juvenile.  The bill allows the court to modify the dispositional order based on the factors considered during the placement review hearing.  The bill further requires that the court conduct subsequent placement review hearings every twelve months throughout the duration of any out-of-home placement ordered by the court.