Date: December 18, 2012, 11:13:09 AM EST
Subject: U.S. DOJ Civil Rights Division News
The Department of Justice today announced that it has entered into a comprehensive memorandum of agreement with the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County, Tenn., to resolve findings of serious and systemic failures in the juvenile court that violate children’s due process and equal protection rights. This agreement is the first time that the department has used its authority under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 to address constitutional violations within a juvenile justice system.
The agreement is designed to ensure that the juvenile court protects constitutional rights of children throughout their court proceedings. The agreement also requires the juvenile court to take steps to reduce racial disparities among similarly situated juveniles in different stages of the juvenile justice process.
“We commend the court, led by Juvenile Court Judge Curtis Person, for taking this bold step toward reform,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “This first of its kind agreement reflects a powerful commitment to upholding constitutional rights of all children appearing before the Juvenile Court. We hope that juvenile courts around the country review this agreement to ensure that they are protecting the constitutional rights of children"