Beyond the Bench 2017 - Monday, December 18, 2017

The Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) is a comprehensive effort to remake the foster care system in California to focus on the importance of families. CCR creates greater emphasis on permanence and relative placements, highlights excellent parenting as the most important intervention, limits the use of congregate care, and reorients the child welfare system to better meet developmental needs and provide the services needed to support youth in the system. Juvenile courts, child welfare agencies and probation departments are all challenged to change and adapt many of their processes to achieve the goals of CCR. Key to implementation is California’s Quality Parenting Initiative (QPI)—a partnership between Youth Law Center (YLC), the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), and the County Welfare Directors Association (CWDA) which strengthens foster care to refocus on excellent parenting as the most important goal for all children in the child welfare system. Bringing together judicial officers and county leadership to plan and monitor CCR implementation and focus on necessary system changes through QPI is essential to its success.

Jennifer Rodriguez, Executive Director, Youth Law Center

This course provides an overview of the dependency legal system. The course focuses on stakeholder roles, dependency law and process, and legally mandated timelines. This course meets the 8-hour requirement for attorneys seeking to accept court-appointed cases per California Rules of Court, rule 5.660(d).

Beth Bobby, Attorney, Judicial Council of California, Center for Families, Children & the Courts
Hon. Patricia Bresee (Ret.), Consultant/Trainer/Retired Juvenile Court Commissioner
Jennifer Kelleher-Cloyd, Directing Attorney, Legal Advocates for Children and Youth
John Passalacqua, CEO and Executive Director, Dependency Legal Services
Shannon Sullivan, Assistant County Counsel, Santa Cruz County Counsel

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Since 2016, Welfare & Institutions Code section 634.3 and rule 5.664 have required attorneys appointed to represent youth in delinquency proceedings to have 12 hours of training or to be able to demonstrate competence in specified subject areas. Juvenile practitioners must also receive 8 hours of education on an ongoing basis. This training is designed to provide training on approximately half of the subject areas called for in rule 5.664; the remainder will be part of the core conference program. It is designed to be useful both to new practitioners and to those with long-standing practices who received their training a long time ago, or were never trained on the fundamentals of juvenile delinquency defense. Each segment of the course will focus on relevant law and procedure, as well as strategic considerations. Throughout the course, subject material will be tied to adolescent development and working with young people.

Brian Blalock, Law and Policy Director, Tipping Point Community
Arthur Bowie, Attorney at Law, Pacific Juvenile Defender Center
Richard Braucher, Staff Attorney, First District Appellate Project
Sue Burrell, Policy and Training Director, Pacific Juvenile Defender Center
Hon. Roger Chan, Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco
Rahn Minagawa, PhD, Clinical & Forensic Psychologist, Forensic Psych Consultants
Ji Seon Song, Thomas C. Grey Fellow and Lecturer in Law, Stanford Law School
Rourke Stacy, Trainer, Juvenile Division, Office of the Los Angeles County Public Defender
Kate Weisburd, Supervising Attorney, East Bay Community Law Center


Last year, the California Legislature passed several new laws aimed at protecting victims of human trafficking. This course will focus on the new Penal Code section 236.23 affirmative defense created by AB 1761, and the new Penal Code section 236.14 postconviction relief created by SB 823. Under these new statutes, defendants charged with certain nonviolent crimes can assert an affirmative defense, or if already convicted of a crime, seek to vacate and seal the conviction if they had committed the crime as a result of being a victim of human trafficking. A panel comprising judges, a prosecutor, a defense attorney, and a victims’ attorney will highlight key aspects of the new provisions, followed by a moderated roundtable discussion using hypothetical scenarios to provide an opportunity for participants to work through potential issues when presented with a human trafficking affirmative defense or conviction relief motion.

Mary-Ellen Barrett, Deputy District Attorney, San Diego District Attorney’s Office
Katherine Braner, Chief Deputy, Development and Training, County of San Diego Office of the Public Defender
Hon. Marian Gaston, Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of San Diego
Hon. Curtis Kin, Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles
Stephanie Richard, Esq., Policy & Legal Services Director, Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking

Culture is embedded in our language, behavior, interpretation, and institutions. Therefore, recognizing culture and its implications is crucial to ensuring justice in our courts. Families from various cultures that experience domestic violence, sexual violence, and all kinds of family violence and trauma engage with the cultures and procedures of our juvenile, criminal and family law court systems every day. Recognizing trends and avoiding pitfalls in the interplay across cultural difference helps us prevent further traumatization of children and families when they enter our courthouses and engage with court services, amplifying trust and success in our cases. This course will discuss strategies for judicial officers, attorneys, court staff, and justice partners to successfully engage families and ensure equal access to safety through approaches that are culturally responsive and trauma informed.

Orchid Pusey, Associate Director, Asian Women’s Shelter

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This half-day training will discuss the U and T visa programs, U and T visa certification by judges, and will cover both California law and federal laws, regulations, and policies regarding certification, including the requirements under the new California Penal Code sections 679.10 and 679.11. Topics that will be covered include: immigrant crime victim dynamics; legislative history of the U and T visas; judicial certification in civil and criminal court matters; best practices for certification in pending and completed cases; an overview of U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations, policies, and training materials on U and T visa certification; considerations in creating and implementing procedures for signing certifications in civil and criminal cases; and reporting requirements under state law.

Hon. Susan Breall, Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco
Sally Kinoshita, Deputy Director, Immigrant Legal Resource Center
Hon. Lora Livingston, Presiding Judge, 261st Civil District Court, Austin, Travis County, Texas
Tara Lundstrom, Attorney, Judicial Council of California, Criminal Justice Services Office
Leslye Orloff, Director, Adjunct Professor, National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project, American University, Washington College of Law

Judicial officers are faced on a regular basis with individuals who have been victimized or traumatized, whether in domestic violence courtrooms, criminal courtrooms, juvenile delinquency and dependency courtrooms, or part of other proceedings. What can judicial officers do to improve their experiences within the bounds of judicial ethics? Are there steps we can take that don’t take a lot of time or money? In this course we will review recent research into victims’ perspectives on fairness and the court process that supports the need for victims to feel that they have a voice in the process and that their views are taken into account by the authority figures, as well as supporting the need for improved understanding of the process. Drawing from sources such as the best practices of a trauma-informed approach and the results of interviews with victims and families in juvenile delinquency courts, new perspectives on judging will be considered. The course will include practical solutions for enhancing the voice of victims without compromising judicial neutrality or the perception of neutrality. It will address the special needs inherent in various types of proceedings. The impact of judicial officers’ communication choices on the court participants’ immediate experiences as well as the potential impacts on overall trust and confidence in the justice system will be examined.

Kelly Tait, Judicial Branch Communication Consultant, KT Consulting, University of Nevada, Reno
Hon. David Suntag (Act/Ret), Judge, Vermont Superior Court

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Victims come into contact with our legal system daily and face special challenges in dealing with the emotional impact of the crime that is being addressed—whether domestic violence, a property or personal crime committed by a juvenile or adult, or another offense. How can we offer more usable and user-friendly services that truly meet the needs of victims? How can we make their voices heard and assist them to deal with the impact of the crime? How do we address the challenge that many of those who perpetrate crimes are also victims? In this workshop, we will employ a user-centered design process developed at the Stanford Design School to reimagine how to engage laypeople with our services, and begin to prototype and test promising new concepts. This will be a hands-on session, aiming to equip participants with new tools from the world of design thinking and agile development, as well as to jump-start new initiatives for improving current services or creating new projects.

Margaret Hagan, Fellow, Stanford Law School Center on Legal Profession

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© 2017 Judicial Council of California