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Youth Court: Entering a New Era of Juvenile Justice

Total Credits
1.5 - 2
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Recently, New York State enacted legislation raising the age of automatic criminal responsibility from 16 to 18. Prior to the signing, New York was one of only two states that charged all youth as adults once they reached the age of 16. Despite the change in the law, children as young as 13 still may be charged as Juvenile Offenders (JOs) and youth ages 16 and 17 can be charged under a newly created category, Adolescent Offender (AO).

JOs and AOs may have their cases adjudicated in Supreme Court, Criminal Term as opposed to Family Court. In recognition of the special developmental needs of adolescents, the law formalized special treatment courts for youth under the age of 18 with the mandate of Youth Parts.

Our panelists will take a 360° view of Youth Part. The Honorable Craig S. Walker will provide an overview of Youth Part and present some preliminary outcomes. Ena Cadesca will present the resources available to young people, and Frederic Pratt Johanne Macajoux will provide the attorney's prospective.

Lecturer Bios

Honorable Craig S. Walker

Honorable Craig S. Walker is the Presiding Judge of the Youth Part in Kings County Supreme Court, Criminal Term. Judge Walker is a veteran of the US Navy where he rose to the rank of Naval Instructor. While in the Navy, he attended college evenings and weekends and went on to Hofstra University School of Law. He was elected as a Judge of the Civil Court in Kings County in 2012 and assigned to Brooklyn Criminal Court in 2013.

Judge Walker never forgot his military roots, and while in Criminal Court helped create and then preside over Veteran's Treatment Court. He was also appointed as the Presiding Judge of the Young Adult Court. Both the Veteran's and Young Adult Courts were the first of their kind and serve as models for replication in jurisdictions throughout the nation.

In 2018, Judge Walker was appointed to the Supreme Court and selected to be the Presiding Judge of the newly created Youth Part.

Ena Cadesca

Ena Cadesca, MSW, LSW is the Resource Coordinator for the Youth Part in Kings County Supreme Court and is responsible for identifying and maintaining linkages to the service providers who are matched with young people involved in Youth Part. Services provided to young people include academic or vocational training, mental health counseling, mentoring, housing, and any other resource that provides the opportunity for a youth to grow and thrive.

Ms. Cadesca brings over thirty years of experience as a social worker and advocate for court-involved youth. As the lynchpin between the court, attorneys and programs Ms. Cadesca, ensures that court involved youth have the opportunity to move away from the criminal justice system and become their best selves.

Frederic Pratt, Esq.

Frederic Pratt has been a public defender for The Legal Aid Society for over thirty years where he has been a tireless advocate for justice. In the early aughts Fred worked with Legal Aid's Capital Defense Unit defending death penalty cases in state and federal court.

From the Capital Unit Fred moved on to Legal Aid's Adolescent Intervention and Diversion Team, where the same principles of integrated defense apply. Fred has seen many changes over the years and is thrilled to witness and to be part of the positive changes brought by the Raise the Age law

Johanne Macajoux, Esq.

Johanne Macajoux a graduate of Cardozo Law School, started her legal career as a Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney in 2006. In 2014, Johanne was appointed to the position of Deputy Bureau Chief for Criminal Court for the Green Trial Zone Bureau, where she supervised over a dozen ADAs who handle a collective caseload of more than 1,000 misdemeanor cases on any given day.

In 2015, Johanne was promoted to Chief of the Young Adult Court Bureau, and supervised the Court part that focused on diversion of youth aged 16- 24 years old, the first such youth court on the East Coast. In 2018, Johanne became Chief of the School Advocacy and Juvenile Crimes Bureau which handles all school related crime and was tasked with implementing the Raise The Age Law for the Kings County District Attorney.

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