Phi Alpha Delta, the Black Law Student Association, and DePaul’s Diversity Committee have partnered with attorneys Heidi Lambros, Assistant Defender a the Office of the State Appellate Defender, and Maya Szilak, Director of the John Howard Association’s Prison Monitor Project, to create the "first ever" legal dictionary/library or "law book" specifically aimed at teens in the juvenile justice system. "It is our hope that DePaul students can help educate and support the minors, both those kids charged as juveniles and those charged as adults; automatic transfer kids or “AT” kids, housed in the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center." The goal is to help detained kids through this confusing and challenging time.
At the launch of this project, Lambrose, Szilak, and Dr. Robyn Inaba, Lead Clinical Psychologist with the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, presented to DePaul students, who were then able to ask questions and gain a better understanding of the situation. Following the panel, students volunteered to assist with the larger goal of creating easy to understand and age- appropriate written materials describing legal terms and concepts. Translating "legalese" into plain language helps serve a population with a great need, and creates an opportunity for law students to give back on their own time, all while developing the skills necessary to grow as a legal writer. Each project volunteer is being emailed five (5) terms and given two weeks to translate the terms into simple non-patronizing explanation.
"State's Attorney" - this is the lawyer who will try your case for the State. He or she is not your lawyer and you should not speak to this person without your lawyer with you. Think of them as your opponent.
"Bench trial" -- this means a trial before a judge only, no jury will listen to your case. The judge will decide whether the State has proved you guilty. The choice to have a bench trial (or a jury trial) is yours alone. Your lawyer can give you advice about what type of trial to have, but the decision is yours.
For those interested, this project will be ongoing and will allow those interested in juvenile law to continue working to create new, understandable documentation for the juvenile facilities, the kids, and the parents involved. Moreover, there may be opportunities in the future to visit one or more of the JTDC's in Illinois. Ultimately, these terms will be compiled into a "law book," which students will help create and then present to the kids and families at JTDC facilities. This project will immeasurably help the kids at the Juvenile Justice Detention Centers, as well as their families. Questions can be emailed to: [email protected].