There are nearly three hundred children serving life sentences in Florida who are eligible to be resentenced pursuant to the Supreme Court opinions in Miller and Graham—FACDL is committed to ensuring that each one of them receives high quality representation. To that end, the FACDL Board of Directors unanimously voted to endorse the Trial Defense Guidelines for Representing a Child Client Facing a Possible Life Sentence which were published by the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth (CFSY) in March of 2015. The CFSY Guidelines call for a team approach similar to that employed in capital cases with at least two attorneys, one investigator, and a mitigation specialist. You may find the Guidelines and a list of endorsing organizations on the CFSY website located at fairsentencingofyouth.org.
FACDL would also like to announce that the Florida Juvenile Resentencing and Review Project at the Florida International University College of Law was founded following the legislative enactment of Chapter 2014-220, Laws of Florida. The focus of the project is to provide training, collect data, and make policy recommendations in connection with juveniles serving or facing life in prison. FIU has also launched a listserv for Juvenile Sentencing Advocates as an additional resource.
Roseanne Eckert, a former capital postconviction lawyer, is the coordinating attorney at FIU and she is available for free training and individual case consultations. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or(305) 348-2669 to get on the listserv or if you have any case-related questions.
FACDL encourages those of you who have experience with capital cases or working with juveniles to contact Roseanne and volunteer to take one of these cases! Together, we can change the way Florida treats its children in the criminal justice system.