ewd2118

6 posts

Keeping Ferris Out of Foster Care: Reforming the JJDPA to Prevent Home Removals Based on Truancy

By Rose Wehrman

Truancy is directly correlated with negative educational and life outcomes for students.  The state exacerbates these negative effects when it removes students from their homes for truancy.  Far from addressing the underlying causes of truancy, home removals—whether into secure or non-secure placements—cause devastating harm.

The Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Act (JJDPA) allows, with some restriction, for children to be incarcerated for truancy.  Additionally, the JJDPA has never regulated the civil removal of juvenile status offenders to non-secure yet prison-like placements.  JJDPA reform has so far focused on the harms of incarceration—a worthy cause, but one that must not overshadow the overlapping harms of non-secure removals.

This Note argues that truancy should not be handled by removing children from their homes and proposes revisions to the JJDPA that would bring the Act closer to its purpose: preventing delinquency and providing necessary services.  To achieve the intended purpose of the JJDPA, Congress must implement further reform.  This Note offers an analysis of how non-secure home removals intersect with the JJDPA and extends existing discourse through its analysis of post-2018 valid court order (VCO) exceptions.  Ultimately, this Note demonstrates how non-secure civil removals and VCO incarcerations frustrate the intended purpose of the JJDPA.

Part I discusses the scope of the truancy problem and the JJDPA’s background and context.  Part II offers insight into the unique harms of home removals, and Part III demonstrates how current loopholes frustrate the purpose of the JJDPA.  Part IV suggests revisions to strengthen the JJDPA’s protections and more closely align the bill with its purpose.

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Lethal Paralytics and the Censorship of Suffering

By Drew S. Brazer

Approximately two dozen states utilize a three-drug lethal injection method to execute condemned persons.  This protocol consists of (i) an anesthetic or sedative; (ii) a paralytic; and (iii) potassium chloride (which stops the heart).  The purpose of the paralytic is purely cosmetic: it prevents witnesses from having to watch the condemned person convulse as they die.

This Note argues that when a condemned person chooses to refuse a lethal paralytic, they are engaging in First Amendment-protected expressive speech.  State regulations requiring the use of a paralytic warrant strict scrutiny because they (i) restrict speech based on subject matter; (ii) are a form of prior restraint; (iii) discriminate based on viewpoint; and (iv) compel speech.  The state’s interest in requiring the paralytic—to censor the violence of the condemned person’s death—is neither legitimate nor compelling.  As such, lethal paralytic requirements fail strict scrutiny and violate the First Amendment.

Part I of this Note outlines the history of capital punishment and the advent of lethal injection in the United States.  It details the various constitutional challenges that have been brought to bear against lethal injection protocols generally, and the use of paralytics specifically.  Part II examines the constitutional rights of incarcerated persons and considers whether an individual’s decision to refuse a paralytic can be considered expressive speech under the Spence-Johnson test.  Next, it contemplates the appropriate standard of review for regulations requiring the use of a paralytic.  Finally, it examines whether lethal paralytic requirements can survive strict scrutiny or any lesser standard of review.  Part III explores the policy implications of recognizing a condemned person’s right to refuse lethal paralytics.  Not only would acknowledging such a right advance the fundamental values of the First Amendment, it would also help to prevent needless pain and suffering.

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