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News – Juvenile Defense

Former Students and Participants in the Juvenile Defense Clinic Square Off in US Supreme Court Case

On January 25, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled  on a case presented by LSU Law alumni and former participants in the Center’s Juvenile Defense Clinic. LSU Law alums squared off on both sides of Montgomery v. Louisiana (case No. 14-280).

In October 2015, Mark Plaisance (’93), Counsel of Record, argued the case of Henry Montgomery before the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. Lindsay Jarrell Blouin (’12), former participant in the LSU Law Center’s Juvenile Justice Clinic, and Sean Collins (’06), former Adjunct Professor in the Juvenile Defense Clinic and now part of the Baton Rouge Capital Conflicts office, were part of the East Baton Rouge Parish Public Defenders Office team that prepared the case.

Kyle Duncan (’97) was Counsel of Record and Special Counsel to the Louisiana Attorney General in the case. He was assisted by Collin Clark (’11), former Juvenile Defense Clinic participant and now Assistant Attorney General.

The Court decided in a 6-3 decision that its decision in Miller v. Alabama, prohibiting a mandatory sentence of life without parole for juvenile offenders, provides for a new substantive rule that is retroactive in cases on state collateral review. The Court ruled that people serving life terms for murders they committed as teenagers must have a chance to seek their freedom. The Justices voted to extend the ruling from 2012 that struck down automatic life terms with no chance of parole for convicted teenagers. The Court ruled that even those convicted long ago must be considered for parole or given new sentences. Montgomery was a 17-year-old when he was convicted for the killing of a sheriff’s deputy in 1963. He has been in prison for more than 50 years.

Professor Linares Recognized as a “Trailblazer” by the National Juvenile Defender Center

Professor Hector Linares was recognized in 2015 as a national juvenile defense ‘trailblazer’ by the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC). NJDC acknowledges Professor Linares’ contributions in training juvenile defenders nationwide on best practices in juvenile defense and his development of the LSU Juvenile Defense Clinic which has an outstanding record with nearly a third of clinic graduates establishing a career in juvenile and criminal justice.

LSU Juvenile Defense Clinic Professor and Clinic Alumnus Argue on Separate Sides Before the Louisiana Supreme Court

On December 10, 2013, Professor Jack Harrison, an Assistant Public Defender in the 19th JDC, faced off against Assistant Attorney General Colin Clark, a Juvenile Defense Clinic alumnus, in front of the Louisiana Supreme Court.  Professor Harrison represented the defendant while Mr. Clark argued on behalf of the state in State in the Interest of J.M.  The case challenges the constitutionality of Louisiana’s laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons and the possession of handguns by juveniles in light of the recently passed constitutional amendment requiring strict scrutiny of laws infringing upon an individual’s right to bear arms.  Both litigants noted their connection to the clinic during their introductory remarks to the justices.  Also sitting at the table for the defense was Merri Hope Thompson, a recent graduate of the Law Center and clinic alumna who argued the case at the trial court level and provided invaluable research and drafting assistance during the appellate phase of proceedings.

LSU Juvenile Defense Clinic Receives LSBA Children’s Law Award

In 2012, The Louisiana State Bar Association awarded the Juvenile Defense Clinic the Louisiana Children’s Law Award for providing outstanding service in the field of children’s law. The award recognizes the clinic’s commitment and dedication to providing for the legal needs of children in Louisiana.