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Public Interest Law Project

Rochelle Martinsson

October 10, 2011

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Youth Rights Justice Attorneys at Law (formerly Juvenile Rights Project)

Juvenile Rights Project, Portland, OR

Juvenile Rights Project, Inc. (JRP) serves children and youth who are abused, neglected, involved with the criminal justice system, or otherwise vulnerable; students facing challenges at school; and parents in need of help with regard to family matters. JRP seeks to support and improve the lives of such individuals through legal representation and advocacy, as well as ensure that these individuals have the opportunity to be safe and successful members of the community.

While at JRP, I was able to gain considerable experience in a variety of capacities. One of my responsibilities was to take calls to the Helpline, staff the calls with JRP attorneys, and then serve the Helpline clients in whatever way was appropriate. Assisting Helpline clients involved, for example, writing letters on their behalf, helping them draft and file motions or petitions with the court, providing them with advice from JRP attorneys, and giving them information or materials pertinent to the legal issues of interest to them. 

Another of my responsibilities at JRP was to participate in the Detention Alternatives program. Through Detention Alternatives, JRP identifies youth threatened with unnecessary or inappropriate detention in juvenile detention, based on their level of risk and the availability of suitable alternatives. Wherever possible, JRP attempts to move its juvenile delinquency clients from juvenile detention to a more nurturing and healthy environment, so that its clients may stabilize and focus on how to resolve their delinquency matters and other troubles. I interviewed new and returning clients scheduled for a preliminary hearing to determine placement pre-adjudication, and investigated alternative placements for the attorneys assigned to represent them. As part of this process, I attended regular meetings with members of the juvenile court system to discuss the viability of such alternatives.

While at JRP I also contributed content to and edited content for the Juvenile Reader, which is a regular publication provided by JRP to Oregon Juvenile Court practitioners. The Juvenile Reader contains, among other things, important news briefs, practice tips, recent case law updates, resources, and discussions of law and policy.

I chose to work at JRP because I believe in JRP’s goals and vision, and because I wanted to contribute to the positive results felt by the community as a result of JRP’s efforts. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to work at JRP, and for being awarded a PILP stipend, which made my summer employment with JRP possible.

 

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