Asst. Prof. Tiffany Sizemore presents at Juvenile Defender Association of PA's CLE

The law school hosted the Juvenile Defender Association of Pennsylvania's (JDAP) Summer 2019 CLE on August 2, 2019. Assistant Professor of Clinical Legal Education Tiffany Sizemore was a featured presenter. She is also the Vice President of JDAP and leads the law school's Juvenile and Educational clinics. Sizemore spoke to an audience of nearly 30 lawyers from Allegheny and surrounding counties during the presentation titled, "Spotlights from the Field: Successfully Litigating Transfer."

Sizemore along with two other attorneys, Eli A. Zlokas, Esq. and Anthony Borrero, Esq. spoke about their personal legal experiences handling juvenile cases in which they opposed a "Motion to Transfer Jurisdiction," (42 Pa.C.S. §6355) issued by their Commonwealth. She explained that when a Commonwealth files a "Motion to Transfer Jurisdiction," the Court is arguing that the juvenile should be transferred to a criminal court for prosecution as an adult and not as a juvenile.

The case Sizemore shared with the audience occurred in 2018 when three juveniles broke out of Shuman Juvenile Detention Center in Pittsburgh. She represented one of the three juveniles.

She began her presentation by detailing the personality, social, and family background of her client, then 17-year-old Raymontay Green. At a young age he was exposed to domestic violence. "Green was separated from his mother and her parental rights were terminated," Sizemore said, "he lived with a variety of blood relatives and his most stable relative died."

She said that Green performed well educationally while in school and that he was an easy client to get along with. Sizemore shared her case brief with the audience, keeping case docket numbers and client names anonymous. According to the brief written by Sizemore, "The adult criminal system simply lacks the nuance and individualized treatment necessary to deliver the kind of supervision and treatment," that her client needed.

Her brief also stated several reasons as to why she opposed the Commonwealth's motion. For example, there is significant data that placing children in adult jails and prisons is detrimental to their health and well-being. According to the brief, "Youth who are committed to adult facilities are 36 times more likely to commit suicide, and to be victims of physical and emotional abuse as well as sexual assault."

Another argument stated that, "Children are less morally culpable - and sometimes less legally culpable - for their offenses in part because of their still-developing psychosocial purposes."

Her client's own words underscore the argument. "I knew once I had stepped out of the jail, I messed up, but I couldn't take it back, all I could do was run," Green told Sizemore.

Sizemore ultimately won the case and the Commonwealth's motion was denied. She shared with the CLE audience that unfortunately, in July 2019, he cut off his ankle bracelet and absconded and is currently on warrant status.

More about Assistant Clinical Professor Tiffany Sizemore

Assistant Clinical Professor Tiffany Sizemore joined the faculty of Duquesne Law School in August 2015. She developed and directs the Juvenile Defender Clinic and the Education Law Clinic. The Juvenile Defender Clinic provides zealous, holistic representation to children charged with crimes in Allegheny County Juvenile Court. The Education Law Clinic also operates as a holistic model, and represents children who are facing school disciplinary and proceedings and special education matters.

Read more about our Clinics.

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