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Presents a webinar

Youth Advocacy in COVID-19

Tuesday, April 14th
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

CLE Credit Pending

  1. National outlook for juvenile justice
  2. Update on Harris County detention facilities
  3. What can you do to help your client in detention

Speakers – Steven Halpert and Christopher Sailer from the Harris County Public Defender office; Mary Ann Scali, National Juvenile Defender Center; and Ellen Marrus, Royce Till Professor of Law, UHLC.



12:00 – 12:30:

National outlook on detention –
Mary Ann Scali

Executive Director
National Juvenile Defender Center

During this pandemic there is concern regarding the spread of COVID-19 in jails and juvenile detention centers. Child advocates, doctors, mental health experts, have joined together to reduce the number of children being held in secure facilities. Ms. Scali will address the actions taken in various jurisdictions and their success or failure.

12:30 – 12:45:

What is currently occurring in Harris County –
Ellen Marrus

Royce Till Professor of Law & Director
Center for Children, Law & Policy at UHLC

As of April 9, 2020, the number of children being held at the Harris County Juvenile Detention Center is 135. There have also been at least two youth have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and four staff. The number of youth in detention must be decreased and the conditions must be improved to meet constitutional standards. A description of what is occurring in the detention center will be given.

12:45 – 1:30:

What can you do as a juvenile defender? –
Steven Halpert

Juvenile Division Chief
Harris County Public Defender Office

Christopher Sailer

Assistant Public Defender
Harris County Public Defender Office

Ellen Marrus

Mary Ann Scali

Harris County Public Defender’s Office has filed a writ in the Harris County Juvenile Courts to release their clients from juvenile detention, and if they are not released to make sure their constitutional rights are being protected. This is one action that other attorneys can take. The writ and additional ideas will shared and discussed.