Amicus Briefs

State of Ohio v. Matthew Aalim, Case No. 2015-0677

This Brief of Amici Curiae, in support of the appellant, Matthew Aalim, argues that Ohio's mandatory bindover laws should be eliminated.  Ohio’s mandatory bindover provision requires youth who are 16 and 17 years old who have been charged with specific crimes to be transferred to adult court.   The amici brief specific argues that: (1) mandatory transfer of youth to adult court does not align with the original goal it was designed to address or the fundamental goals of the Ohio's juvenile court system; (2) the legislature’s attempt to reduce the number of mandatory bindovers through the implementation of Serious Youthful Offender and reverse waiver laws have proven to be unsuccessful; and (3) there is a broad body of support for the elimination of the mandatory bindover law from national and Ohio stakeholders including juvenile court stakeholders, county organizations, and national polls. Given the substantial evidence pointing to the harmful nature of mandatory bindover and the wide spread support for allowing juvenile court judges to decide whether a youth should be boundover on a case-by-case basis, the amici curiae request that the Supreme Court of Ohio recognize the mandatory bindover law as unconstitutional.

Brief for Amici Curiae in Support of Appellant

A.M. v. Ann Holmes, Case Nos. 14-2066; 14-2183

The majority opinion of the United State District Court of New Mexico allows for law enforcement officers to arrest schoolchildren for behavior that purportedly disrupts the classroom, even if that behavior is typical of children such as burping, laughing, or leaning into the classroom from the hallway. Slip Op. at 33. This Brief of Amici Curiae, submitted in support of the appellant, A.M.,  has three arguments: (1) criminalizing ordinary schoolchildren’s behavior contrasts with the school’s responsibility to help prepare students for citizenship in our democracy, (2) allowing school-based arrests for classroom misconduct criminalizes normal childish behavior with possible harmful results in regards to the child’s education, health, and life chances, and (3) endorsing law enforcement with near unlimited discretion to arrest children results in harms children who are most at risk. The amici request a rehearing of this cases by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, en banc.

Brief of Amici Curiae

J.B., a Minor v. James B. Fassnacht, et al., Case No. 15-903

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that under the Fourth Amendment strip searches of children should be governed by the same standard for adults set forth in Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of Cty. of Burlington, 132 S. Ct. 1510 (2012), which in effect allows for a blanket strip-search policy in youth detention facilities. CLC joined J.B. v. James B. Fassnacht as amici curiae in support of the petitioner, J.B., a minor child. Amici urged the court to grant S.B.’s petition for a writ of certiorari, which challenged the widespread practice of blanket strip-searches of youth entering juvenile detention centers across the nation on the basis that the practice is uniquely harmful to children. Children and adolescents, who are still in the developmental stage, are significantly more likely than their adult counterparts to experience severe psychological trauma when subjected to strip searches. Given the practice's significant psychological impact, the amici argued that the balancing test for reasonableness under the Fourth Amendment must be tailored specifically to children when considering the use of strip searches at juvenile detention centers. Furthermore, the amici concluded that through the already existing intake process officers can reasonably implement an individualized suspicion standard. Thus, the amici contended that the Court should grant J.B.’s petition and reverse the Third Circuit Court’s decision.

Brief for Amici Curiae

Henry Montgomery v. State of Louisiana, Case No. 14-280

In Miller v. Alabama, the Supreme Court of the United States held that mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of parole are unconstitutional for juvenile offenders, even those convicted of homicide offenses. The Court extended the rulings from Roper v. Simmons and Graham v. Florida that children are less culpable than adults for their actions.  In 1963, Mr. Montgomery shot and killed a police officer in East Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After trial, Mr. Montgomery received a mandatory life without parole sentence and spent over fifty years incarcerated in the Louisiana Department of Corrections. As of 2016, he was sixty-nine years old and had missed the societal shift in Louisiana and the United States.

This amicus curiae asked the Court to retroactively apply the Miller decision to the case of Mr. Henry Montgomery. First, the amicus curiae argued that Miller constituted a conversion in jurisprudence for the punishment of children because previous thinking portrayed children that committed serious crimes as hopeless. Second, as a matter of equity, if the Court were to prevent lower courts from revisiting those children sentenced to life without parole the Miller decision would resemble nothing more than a half-truth. In short, a landmark case like Miller must be a turning point in criminal procedure. Therefore, Miller cannot be subjected to bars on retroactivity. Teague v. Lanes, 489 U.S. 288, 311 (1989).


Brief of Amici Curiae in Support of the Petitioner

In Re: D.M. Case No. 2013-0579

CLC joined In Re: D.M. as  amici curiae in support of the appellant, a minor child, D.M. The State of Ohio originally filed an appeal in D.M.’s case after the trial court dismissed the case on the grounds that the state failed to comply with a discovery order. The state refused to provide copies of statements by victims or other witnesses to the alleged crime, which were contained in reports prepared per the normal police routine. The First District Court of Appeals held that the state was only required to provide discovery to a juvenile upon request only as it pertains to Brady materials in its possession or is evidence that the state intends to use at the probable-cause hearing. D.M. argues on appeal the Ohio Supreme Court that a juvenile is entitled to full discovery prior to a probable cause hearing held pursuant to O.R.C. 2152.12, the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, the Ohio Constitution, Article I, Section 16, and Juvenile Rule 24.

Brief of Amici Curiae