2019 Community-Oriented Defender (COD) Network Conference 
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Wednesday, June 5 • 10:30am - 12:00pm
Always by Their Side: Holistic Representation of Juveniles from Criminal Court to Family Court and Beyond

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In 2018, New York State enacted its “Raise the Age” legislation, which amended outdated laws that had automatically prosecuted 16- and 17-year-olds as adults by raising the age of criminal responsibility for most charges to 18. The practical result has been that a great many adolescents are having their cases heard in both adult criminal court and family court. In response to this new statutory framework, New York County Defender Services created a “Juvenile Defense Unit” that provides its juvenile clients with unique and expert continuity of representation that persists throughout multiple jurisdictions and legal systems. This workshop will address the importance of having the same attorney and social work team represent juvenile clients whose cases traverse both adult criminal court and family court. We will examine the challenges these cases pose when the juvenile client is also entangled in the child welfare system, the resources needed to address those issues, and how that entanglement affects disposition. Finally, we will delve into the central role that education plays in the lives of court-involved youth by discussing the issues our clients face in accessing their education and how we can effectively advocate for their needs.


Katherine DeZengotita

Attorney, New York County Defender Services
Katherine DeZengotita has worked as a defense attorney and as a policy advocate in the juvenile and criminal justice fields since graduating from law school in 2005. She represented adults in criminal court at the Defender Association in Seattle, Washington, and, more recently, spent... Read More →

Johanna Neufeld

Forensic Social Worker, New York County Defender Services
Johanna Neufeld has been a forensic social worker since 2010. During that time, she has worked on several hundred New York State court cases including youth court cases during New York’s “Raise the Age” statute implementation. She has also worked on federal capital cases where... Read More →

Nikki Woods

Attorney, New York County Defender Services
Nikki Woods has been practicing law for more than 13 years. She has spent the last 10 years focusing on advocating for children. Nikki has worked as a parent advocate for New York State’s Early Intervention Program, as a service coordinator advocating for children with special needs... Read More →

Wednesday June 5, 2019 10:30am - 12:00pm EDT
Harborview I 2nd Floor