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On May 16, 2016, the National Juvenile Defender Center launched a year-long campaign to commemorate the 50th anniversary of In re Gault, the US Supreme Court decision that ruled children have fundamental rights in America’s courtrooms. Join NJDC, our allies and partners in championing children’s right to counsel.

 

In re Gault

In re Gault was a landmark United States Supreme Court decision that ensured the right to a lawyer for children accused of crimes in juvenile court. The ruling also provided other due process rights, including the right to be notified of the charges, the right to cross-examine witnesses, and the right to not have to make a statement against oneself.

 

Share on Social Media

Spread the #GaultAt50 message! Follow and tweet us at @NatJuvDefend. Use the hashtags #GaultAt50 and #DefendChildren.

As part of our Campaign, we’re identifying monthly themes to elevate important issues, crises, and communities that are impacted by the juvenile justice system. Please see below for the specialized monthly toolkits to support your outreach on social media.

 

Gault at 50 Sample Tweets

  • No child should ever stand alone in America’s courtrooms. Join #GaultAt50 and support children’s rights! Visit http://gaultat50.org
  • Fifty years later, it’s time to fulfill the promise. Let’s ensure every child has access to an attorney #GaultAt50 http://gaultat50.org
  • 1 MILLION: The number of juvenile delinquency cases annually in the US. We should invest in children, not criminalize them #GaultAt50
  • 31 states have no laws saying how young is too young to prosecute a child. It’s time to rethink #juvjustice #GaultAt50
  • Over 100 orgs have endorsed the #GaultAt50 Statement of Principles — take a stand for children and add your name today! @NatJuvDefend
  • Right to counsel is common sense but not common practice in juvenile courts. Join the campaign at Gaultat50.org! #DefendChildren
  • “The condition of being a boy does not justify a kangaroo court” – #SCOTUS, 1967. Fulfill the promise, join the campaign #GaultAt50
  • Youth of color make up only 40% of nat’l pop, yet 70% of youth in the #jjsystem. We need justice for ALL children #GaultAt50

Sample Facebook Posts:

  • “Under the Constitution, the condition of being a boy does not justify a kangaroo court,” the US Supreme Court ruled in 1967. Fifty years later, the promise of that landmark case, In re Gault, remains unfulfilled. Join the #GaultAt50 Campaign and stand up for a child’s right to counsel! #DefendChildren http://gaultat50.org
  • The right to counsel is common sense but not common practice in America’s juvenile courts. Demand a change and join the @National Juvenile Defender Center’s #GaultAt50 campaign! Follow the link below to pledge your support. #DefendChildren http://gaultat50.org
  • Children are our most vulnerable defendants and our most valuable assets. We must protect their rights in the courtroom–including the right to a skilled attorney. Sign the #GaultAt50 Statement of Principles and stand with children! http://gaultat50.org

 

JUNE: Pride Month

Graphics: 

Copy of #GaultAt50-5

Sample Tweets:

  • It’s #PrideMonth! Endorse the #GaultAt50 Statement of Principles b/c #LGBTQ youth should never stand alone in court. bit.ly/1sipBGs
  • #LGBTQ youth make up 7% of the youth pop, but 20% of those in the #juvjustice system. Join #GaultAt50 to protect ALL kids. #PrideMonth
  • In the juvenile justice system, a shocking 85% of #LGBTQ youth in detention facilities are youth of color. #PrideMonth #GaultAt50
  • #JuvenileDefenders are front line advocates for #LGBTQ youth. Let’s ensure they receive effective support. #GaultAt50 #PrideMonth
  • #LGBTQ youth are 2x as likely to end up in facilities for behavior like truancy, running away, and breaking curfew. #GaultAt50 #PrideMonth

Sample Facebook Posts:

  • #LGBTQ youth, and particularly youth of color, are too often pushed into the juvenile justice system out of prejudice and a lack of understanding and sensitivity to their realities. In honor of #PrideMonth, we’re standing with the @National Juvenile Defender Center and the #GaultAt50 Campaign to ensure all young people can access skilled attorneys who will fight for their rights in court. Get involved at www.gaultat50.org!
  • Misconceptions and biases against #LGBTQ youth negatively impact how they’re treated in the juvenile justice system. We must ensure every young person has an attorney to uphold their rights in a system where they’re vulnerable to harm. Join [organization] and the #GaultAt50 Campaign in honoring #PrideMonth and standing with #LGBTQ youth! bit.ly/1sipBGs
  • More than 60 organizations have signed on to the @National Juvenile Defender Center’s #GaultAt50 Statement of Principles. In honor of #PrideMonth, we did too. Ensure #LGBTQ youth caught in the juvenile justice system receive the respect and support they deserve. Join the movement and endorse today! bit.ly/1sipBGs

Sample Resources:

  • Hidden Injustice 
    • National Juvenile Defender Center, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Legal Services for Children

The Equity Project:

The National Juvenile Defender Center is part of a collaborative initiative called the Equity Project that seeks to ensure lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth in juvenile delinquency courts are treated with dignity, respect, and fairness. The Project examines issues of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression (SOGIE) that impact youth during the entire delinquency process, ranging from arrest through post-disposition.

Visit the Equity Project website for practice guides, trainings, resources and information, and technical assistance on issues related to the criminalization of LGBTQ youth.

 

JULY: Justice For All

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Sample Tweets:

  • Constitutional rights are nonnegotiable! #SCOTUS ruled youth must have access to skilled counsel in court #387US1 bit.ly/1sipBGs
  • Only 42% of youth in custody reported having a lawyer. Endorse the #GaultAt50 Campaign & demand #JusticeForAll! bit.ly/1sipBGs
  • When we deprive children of freedom, we deprive them of a future. Invest in kids, don’t incarcerate them #GaultAt50 #Rights4Youth
  • History has shown us that in the absence of rights, there is an absence of justice. Ensure #Rights4Youth in court @ gaultat50.org
  • We have over 100 endorsers of the #GaultAt50 Statement of Principles. Stand for children, add your name today! @NatJuvDefend #JusticeForAll

Sample Facebook Posts: 

  • Constitutional rights are nonnegotiable, especially rights for children. In 1967, the US Supreme Court recognized a child’s right to counsel in juvenile court, but far too many youth continue to navigate the system alone. This July, stand with the @National Juvenile Defender Center and demand #JusticeForAll. Get involved at www.gaultat50.org!
  • At every step in the juvenile court process, children should be treated with respect and dignity. That means youth are represented in court, free from shackles, and, whenever possible, at home in their communities–not in a prison cell. #GaultAt50 bit.ly/1sipBGs
  • More than 100 organizations have signed onto the @National Juvenile Defender Center’s #GaultAt50 Statement of Principles. In honor of #JusticeForAll, [your organization] did too. Ensure all young people can access skilled attorneys who will fight for their rights in court. Join the movement and endorse today! bit.ly/1sipBGs

Sample Resources:

 

AUGUST: Back To School

Graphics: 

school to prison - 2

Sample Tweets:

  • As youth go #BackToSchool, we must ensure they remain in classrooms and out of courtrooms. #GaultAt50 bit.ly/1sipBGs
  • Black youth are 2.3x more likely than white youth to be referred to law enforcement in school. Join #GaultAt50, demand change! #BackToSchool
  • Invest in children’s learning, talents, and dreams. Not prison time. Endorse #GaultAt50 today: bit.ly/1sipBGs #BackToSchool
  • Defenders are an important voice in dismantling the #schooltoprison pipeline. Ensure a child’s right to counsel! bit.ly/1sipBGs
  • Cops and handcuffs = no replacement for counselors and healing. Protect youth rights in the classroom & courtroom: gaultat50.org

Sample Facebook Posts: 

  • Schools should be safe and welcoming places for children to learn–not entryways into the legal system. Let’s empower educators, families, and defenders to work together for the best possible outcomes for youth. #BackToSchool #GaultAt50 bit.ly/1sipBGs
  • More than 100 organizations have signed onto the @National Juvenile Defender Center’s #GaultAt50 Statement of Principles. In honor of #BackToSchool, [your organization] did too. Ensure all young people can access skilled attorneys who will fight for their rights in courts and in schools. Join the movement and endorse today! bit.ly/1sipBGs
  • Students who are pushed out of their classrooms and into the court system (or worse, into prison) face enormous obstacles returning to school. Juvenile defenders fight for children’s rights to stay in school–but far too many children lack access to meaningful legal representation in court. Join #GaultAt50 and help dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline. #BackToSchool  bit.ly/1sipBGs

Sample Resources

 

SEPTEMBER: Hispanic Heritage Month

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Sample Tweets:

  • Lift up the dreams of Hispanic youth, don’t lock them away #HispanicHeritage #GaultAt50 bit.ly/1sipBGs
  • One in four Latino youth behind bars is held in adult prison. That’s neither safe nor smart. End the disparity: bit.ly/29NvTY5
  • Latino youth caught in juvenile court are 41% more likely to receive out-of-home placement than their white peers #GaultAt50
  • Justice means juvenile courts can meet the cultural and linguistic needs of Latino children and families. #GaultAt50
  • #JuvenileDefenders ensure the voices of Latino youth are heard in court. Every child deserves a lawyer: bit.ly/29NvTY5

Sample Facebook Posts: 

  • Latino youth are uniquely harmed in the juvenile court system. Language barriers, implicit biases, and ignorance around immigration law can hurt their case outcomes—and even lead to unnecessary placement in custody. Endorse our #GaultAt50 Campaign today and help the @National Juvenile Defender Center protect the rights of all children in court. bit.ly/29NvTY5
  • Juvenile defenders must be empowered with the resources and support to track racial and ethnic disparities in court. Only by accurately measuring the enormous scope of injustice can we meaningfully overcome it. Join the #GaultAt50 Campaign today: bit.ly/29NvTY5 #HispanicHeritage
  • The juvenile court system is broken with bias—and, whether implicit or explicit, it is causing irreparable harm to Latino youth and their futures. Support children’s rights in court and endorse the @National Juvenile Defender Center’s #GaultAt50 Statement of Principles today! bit.ly/29NvTY5

Sample Resources

 

OCTOBER: Youth Justice Action Month

Graphics:

#YJAM #YJAM-2

 

Sample Tweets:

  • It’s #YJAM! This October, turn awareness into action. Join the #GaultAt50 Campaign and demand rights for youth: bit.ly/29NvTY5
  • “We must ensure that young people have quality legal representation” – @POTUS bit.ly/29NvTY5 #YJAM #GaultAt50
  • Fairness for youth in court begins with access to high-quality, specialized juvenile defenders. Learn more: gaultat50.org #YJAM
  • Youth should never face a judge or prosecutor without an attorney by their side. Take action for #YJAM, visit gaultat50.org!
  • “Justice too long delayed is justice denied.” Take action with #YJAM and stand up for children’s rights in court! bit.ly/29NvTY5

Sample Facebook Posts

  • Join the @National Juvenile Defender Center in celebrating Youth Justice Action Month (#YJAM)—because now is the time to turn awareness into action and stand up for children’s rights in juvenile court. As President Obama said in his #YJAM Presidential Proclamation, “We must ensure that young people have quality legal representation throughout every stage of the legal process.” Get involved at gaultat50.org!
  • In some counties across the country, up to 80 percent of children are denied their constitutional right to an attorney in juvenile court. This October, take action with #YJAM and demand that youth voices are heard, their dignity is respected, and their rights are upheld. Visit gaultat50.org to learn more about the crisis and what you can do to get involved. #GaultAt50
  • In his Letter from Birmingham Jail, Dr. King quoted an old legal phrase: “Justice too long delayed is justice denied.” Fifty years after children were afforded a constitutional right to an attorney in juvenile court, far too many youth–and particularly youth of color–continue to face the power of the state without quality representation. This month, turn your awareness into action and join the thousands of people nationwide who are participating in Youth Justice Action Month to demand legal rights and protections children. Get involved at gaultat50.org! #YJAM #DefendChildren

Sample Resources

  • For a comprehensive guide to Youth Justice Action Month, including political and communications resources, background, events, and photos, visit the Campaign for Youth Justice’s website.

 

NOVEMBER: Native American Heritage Month

Graphics:

Native American Youth Graphic - Native American Heritage

Sample Tweets:

  • November is #NativeAmericanHeritage Month, a time to honor & celebrate the traditions, cultures, and resilience of tribal youth #GaultAt50
  • American Indian and Alaska Native youth are 2.5x more likely to experience trauma than their peers. bit.ly/29NvTY5 #GaultAt50
  • Juvenile defenders must partner w/ tribal elders and community leaders to provide support for youth #NativeAmericanHeritage
  • Tribal youth are 50% more likely to receive harsh penalties like out-of-home placement than white youth #NativeAmericanHeritage
  • Courts must ensure rights for Native youth while embracing strengths and traditions of tribal culture #NativeAmericanHeritage

Sample Facebook Posts

  • November is #NativeAmericanHeritage Month, a time to honor the traditions, cultures, and histories of Native people—but also to understand the violence and disparate treatment these communities continue to endure. Tribal children are disproportionately caught in the juvenile court system where they receive harsher penalties and fewer protections than their white peers. Join the @National Juvenile Defender Center’s #GaultAt50 Campaign to fight to protect tribal youth and uphold their rights. [Paste Link: bit.ly/29NvTY5]
  • When representing tribal youth, juvenile defenders must partner with families, tribal elders, and the child’s community network to strengthen case outcomes and empower youth participation in the court process. Join the @National Juvenile Defender Center’s #GaultAt50 Campaign to stand up for children’s rights. #NativeAmericanHeritage [Paste Link: bit.ly/29NvTY5]

Sample Resources

  • Model Indian Juvenile Code, 2016 Revision
    • Center of Indigenous Research and Justice, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

 

DECEMBER: Families and Communities

Sample Tweets

  • Family engagement in the court process = better outcomes for children. Check out tips for building partnerships: bit.ly/2i1CroQ #GaultAt50
  • Ensure youth have a voice in court and sign the #GaultAt50 Statement of Principles: bit.ly/29NvTY5 #DefendChildren
  • When youth, families, and defenders work together, the child and the child’s case benefit. #GaultAt50 bit.ly/29NvTY5
  • Frequent and open communication between families and defenders will build trust and confidence. #GaultAt50 bit.ly/29NvTY5
  • Families and defenders should have a mutual understanding of how each can support the other. Learn more: bit.ly/2i1CroQ #GaultAt50

Sample Facebook Posts

  • When youth, families, and defenders work together, the child and the child’s case benefit. Join the @National Juvenile Defender Center’s #GaultAt50 Campaign to stand up for the voices of children and families in court. bit.ly/29NvTY5
  • In collaboration with @Justice for Families, the National Juvenile Defender Center published 10 Tips for Building Effective Youth-Family-Defender Partnerships. Check it out and learn how attorneys and communities can mutually benefit from working together. #GaultAt50 bit.ly/2i1CroQ

Sample Resources

 

JANUARY: Disparate Treatment of Youth

Graphics: 

Gault at 50 - January Gault at 50 - January 2

Sample Tweets

  • Decades of crime prevention policies have led to legally sanctioned mass incarceration of youth of color: bit.ly/29NvTY5 #GaultAt50
  • Justice reform efforts must target implicit and explicit bias in delinquency courts: bit.ly/29NvTY5 #GaultAt50
  • End the dual injustices of civil and due process rights violations imposed on youth: bit.ly/29NvTY5 #GaultAt50
  • “The right to representation by counsel is not a formality…It is the essence of justice.” – SCOTUS, 1966 #GaultAt50 bit.ly/29NvTY5
  • Defenders must be specialized to uphold rights & protections of youth who face additional barriers: bit.ly/29NvTY5 #GaultAt50

Sample Facebook Posts

  • As we embark on a New Year, join the National Juvenile Defender Center’s #GaultAt50 Campaign to ensure children have access to specialized attorneys who will uphold their civil and due process rights in juvenile court. bit.ly/29NvTY5
  • In 1966, the Supreme Court said: “The right to representation by counsel is not a formality…It is the essence of justice.” Juvenile defenders must be trained to effectively advocate for youth who are disproportionately denied opportunities and protections in the court system. Sign onto #GaultAt50 and stand up for young people’s rights and dignity! bit.ly/29NvTY5

Sample Resources

 

 

Questions or Thoughts?

Press and Media Inquiries:
Sarah Edwards
Development and Communications Manager
sedwards@njdc.info

Campaign Inquiries:
Christina Gilbert
Staff Attorney and Policy Counsel
cgilbert@njdc.info

 

In re Gault was a giant step forward for the rights of children. Yet, due to inconsistent enforcement and lack of awareness, the due process rights of our children in delinquency court are not protected. We’ve come a long way, but we have a long way to go.

1million

juvenile delinquency cases each year

31

states have no laws saying how young is too young to prosecute a child

21

states do not restrict shackling of children in juvenile court

33

states do not allow jury trials in juvenile court

Upcoming Events

The National Juvenile Defender Center and its allies and partners will be commemorating the Gault decision in the run up to the 50th anniversary. Find an event below.

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Media

    Vermont Public Radio
    Jun 14, 2017 - News Item

    Lahey: Due Process for Juveniles

    Fifty years on, many states continue to deny juveniles their right to counsel, either through legislation or in its implementation.
    SJDC
    May 24, 2017 - News Item

    Gault at 50: Conference to Offer Tips for ‘Front-Line’ Juvenile Lawyers

    You could call it the obscene phone call heard 'round the world. The May 1967 Supreme Court ruling that threw out Gerald Gault’s six-year commitment for lewd remarks over the telephone has led to half a century of juvenile justice reform.
    The Atlantic
    May 22, 2017 - News Item

    The Children Being Denied Due Process

    On June 8, 1964, Gerald Gault and Ronald Lewis were arrested when their neighbor, Mrs. Cook, alleged they had made a lewd phone call to her home. The police detained Gerald overnight and held a hearing the next day in the juvenile judge’s chambers.
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About NJDC

At the National Juvenile Defender Center, we promote justice for all children by ensuring excellence in juvenile defense. NJDC was founded to guarantee every child facing prosecution in juvenile court is represented by an attorney who is specialized and trained to defend children.

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