Illinois State Bar Association

What if it Were Your Child?

What would the juvenile justice system look like if we knew our sons, daughters, and grandchildren would go through it?

Remember the really stupid things you did as a teenager? If pressed, virtually every ISBA member would have to admit to reckless if not sometimes dangerous or even very serious mistakes we made as young people. Many of us privately take solace that our worst misdeeds weren’t exposed. Or, if our “bad” act was discovered, we can remember being held accountable by our families, by our school, or by others in our community.

And somehow, we were given a second chance to grow up and do better. But we may also recall then breathing a huge sigh of relief. Without that second chance, we might not be the lawyers and judges we are today.

So what if your child did the things you or your friends did as teenagers? What if he or she got caught? What if your child or grandchild had mental health problems, or became involved in drug, and/or alcohol use or abuse, or got into a fight on school property?

What would you do if your child or grandchild were arrested and charged with a delinquent or criminal offense? Would you want your son, daughter, or relation to be questioned by police officers without an attorney or other adult present? Would you want your grandchild to be sent to an Illinois youth prison, far away from his or her community, school, and family?

Would you want your child to face a prisoner review board on his or her own, with no attorney and no advocate by his side? Would you want your son or daughter to be on parole for years, with a long list of mandates and requirements and supervised by a parole agent from the Illinois Department of Corrections? Would you want your child to go back to a youth prison, without ever appearing before a judge or seeing an attorney, for breaking the rules of parole?

Or – if your child got into trouble – would you want something different? What would that be? What would the juvenile justice system look like if we designed it with our own children in mind?

Brain chemistry

The juvenile court is founded on the fundamental idea that young people are different from adults in many ways. Their brains operate differently. They make decisions differently and often struggle with impulse control. They need caring adults in their lives to provide structure, guidance, and support. They have less capacity to weigh the long-term consequences.

On the other hand, teenagers are capable of tremendous positive change, rehabilitation, and growth. Those of us who have had teenagers in our lives know this to be true. These facts are, in many ways, embedded in the Illinois Juvenile Court Act and, most recently, in the Unites States Supreme Court decisions in Roper v Simmonsand Graham v Florida. That clear recognition of youth/adult differences under the law is promising and powerful.

But the fact remains that what we know about young people, their needs and their differences from adults, is often not manifested in our policies and practices in the juvenile justice system. Young people can be and are often picked up at school, undergo arrest and police questioning, and all without any adult guidance or support. What 14-year-old knows his or her legal rights or how best to communicate appropriately with police officers?

Too often our teenagers face detention hearings where a judge decides whether they go home or remain locked up while awaiting adjudication, and all without a meaningful chance to talk to their parents or to an attorney. Far too many youth found delinquent are then sentenced without prosecutors, judges, or defenders having the information provided them about underlying mental health or substance abuse issues, schooling shortfalls, or learning disabilities. These are the very types of services that could address those underlying needs without resorting to incarceration.

Youth sentenced to the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice most often suffer a bleak existence. These “youth centers” tend to be far away from their families, with limited or non-existent transportation. Most such facilities have the look and feel of adult prisons, with grey walls, cement-block barracks, confining cells, and razor-wire perimeters on the grounds.

Leadership and staff in these facilities readily acknowledge that schooling, mental health services, drug treatment resources, recreational activities, and vocational training programs are far too limited. There is little planning or preparation for a successful release and return home for such youth. The “rehabilitation” component is simply missing.

We can do better

The processes by which youth are either released or retained for extended periods are based on an adult model and rely upon the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, a body created to decide the fates of adult prisoners in correctional facilities. Few youth have parents present with them at their parole hearings. Even fewer have an adult present for parole revocation hearings.

And thus far, after nearly six months of observations conducted by the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission, it is reported that no youth has had an attorney or any legal help in making the case that he or she is ready for release. What 15-year-old is capable of representing himself or herself before a body of adults that decides whether such youth goes home or remains incarcerated? What does this tell a young person about the value we place on freedom, life, due process, and well-being? Is this the kind of system we believe in, as lawyers and judges?

The reality is that the vast majority of lawyers and judges and other juvenile justice practitioners – from police officers to parole agents – care about youth and want to do right by them. They recognize that youth make mistakes, sometimes serious ones. They know that youth need opportunities to learn, to go to school, to get treatment if necessary, to make amends for causing harm and to have a second chance at life.

But, like many states, Illinois has created a juvenile justice system that, too often, stands in the way of successful outcomes. A zero tolerance policy is really no policy at all – it is an abdication of our responsibilities to treat young people as individuals. Being tough on juveniles is not the same thing as being smart on crime. We apply adult models to youth, even though we know in our hearts – and from our statutes and case law – that youth are different.

It would be one thing if these “adultified” approaches worked. They don’t. They don’t change lives for the better. They don’t enhance public safety. They certainly don’t save scarce fiscal resources in the short term and exponentially heighten the demand for more resources in the long run.

We can do better.

The good news is that lawyers and judges play a fundamental role in making positive change, and we are equipped and ready for the challenge. In addition to protecting the most basic Constitutional and human rights of our young people – which is a laudable goal in and of itself – we as lawyers and judges can and must do even more and do so now.

Leading by example

In a forthcoming President’s Page, we hope to provide some examples of lawyers across the state – many of them ISBA members — doing just that in our communities. Across Illinois, lawyers and judges are renewing their interest, leadership, and dedication to juvenile justice. They are finding ways to be involved, to be active in the lives of young people, and to make sure that young people have second chances to be everything they have the potential to become.

Some of these lawyers and judges are leading juvenile justice councils, which foster community collaboration and planning to understand and respond to the problems of young people in the community, to devise local alternatives to incarceration, and to then build on each youth’s talents and strengths. Others are representing individual youth at expungement hearings, working to provide such youth the “fresh start” they may deserve by clearing their records of arrests that were never even prosecuted.

Lawyers are building coalitions to improve the laws and policies that shape our justice system and influence the lives of young people across the state. Others are training and organizing volunteers to visit and monitor the conditions under which our youth are detained and incarcerated. Training resources are being developed so that prosecutors, defenders, and judges all understand and apply the principles of adolescent development and “best practices” with youth in conflict with the law.

Still others are advocating with and for families, who are our most valuable allies in preventing and addressing juvenile crime in productive, restorative ways. Lawyers are getting involved in local school boards and advocating for enhanced learning opportunities for our youth, to keep them out of the juvenile justice system in the first place.

But, inevitably, some youth will become involved with law enforcement and the courts. So we pose again this question: What would you want the juvenile justice system to look like if you knew your child was going to go through it? And what will we, as a community of lawyers and judges, do to make this system of justice a reality for all young people, their families, and our communities?

Lisa Jacobs is program manager for Models for Change, a juvenile justice reform effort funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and administered by Loyola University School of Law.


Law Professor James Duane gives viewers startling reasons why they should always exercise their 5th Amendment rights when questioned by government officials.

Ray Man
Awesome video, everyone should watch this. Thanks!
Jim Foreman
The military teaches the only thing that one is required to tell; Name, rank and serial number; NO MORE!
Zeke Man
Cops are not your friends
The Traveler
I’ve watched it a few times over the past couple of years and it is A MUST WATCH!
Hey…..Norfolk! My hometown.
This was amazing. I always thought that if I had nothing to hide (which I don’t), that the police would be my advocate. I see how wrong I was.
sorry… I’m so late.. Silent Citizen told me about this one
Robert Dailey
If you have trouble exercising your right to remain silent, this is worth watching and paying attention.
I would love to know how many innocent people in American history have been executed.
Guy Goodwin
One of the most informative presentations I have ever seen on the Internet. Proves all this time on line isn’t wasted.
Michael Chevreaux
ANYTHING can and will be used against you in a court og law!
Daymond ' Chief ' Jones
yep sovereign church of Jesus com
I knew people shouldn’t talk to cops, but i didn’t know how even stating the truth could lead to problems. I won’t forget that, if i am one day “interviewed” by the police.
I saw this quite a while ago, but I’m glad to see it’s still going around. Everyone should see this.
Richard Brown
Silence is “Golden” nothing else worth adding!
Gideon Jussen
Lol 47:03 I never try and send innocent people to jail. At the start he saying, everyone breaks the law. So maybe true he not trying to send innocent people to jail. Seeing noone is innocent, he trys to send everyone to jail.
Terry Weaver
The 5th amendment affords us the right to NOT incriminate our self. Police however, use the person’s 5th amendment right to mean, if they are not talking they must then be guilty. “To protect and to serve” this has been posted on most cop cars until recently. The problem is: who are they protecting and who are they serving? That answer is. They protect sand serve the government, not the citizen. The Miranda right…anything you say can and will be used against you!!! Why is there no protection for YOU? It is onesided, designed only to help convict you. Why does it not read: can be used for or against you. Last but not least… When entering a plea the courts documents have guilty or not guilty… Innocent is not an acceptable plea and so, even this subtle insinuation is designed to adversely effect you!
ive watched this video so many times. lol
Jammer / San Antonio
SAEXTAZYPREZ. I’m not sure where you got this video but it was awesome, except that guy talked fast as shit….. I will have to watch it again several more times to catch all he was saying but I took away a lot of great info from it… I see in your videos where the cops come up to you asking if they can help you with anything , you say no and they keep digging to get you talking. And when you say I’m taking the 5th and they say you can’t because you are not under arrest yet. You have to be arrested to plead the 5th. People fall for that line too. Great video hope you put out more or at least share where you got it for those of us that can’t afford to donate.
Commenter Five
Notice the policeman said they are allowed to lie in an interrogation. Even their name for it is a lie. Rest assured the biggest liars in your vicinity are two groups, the people and the police.
Crow T Robot's Video Channel
Yeah, I saw this video the other day. It’s one thing when a lawyer tells you not to talk to the police. But when a police officer says it – LISTEN TO HIM!!!
zelen plav
My granddaughter found out the police are major liers. I understand it is the SYSTEM. But it creates so many problems even for normal law abiding citizens. My father was a military officer. It took him decades to fully realize how corrupt this system is. I can’t blame the individual officers, they are victims of the system too.
Kim Pierre
Good tutorial, excellent advice
Freedom Capital Partners LLP
Cops are not your friends
Silent Citizen
If every American watched this and took it to heart, our society would be so much different. Great video.
Good way to get arrested for nothing. Someone walked out in front of my car, he fell to the ground, I was going very slowly. When the police arrived I told them what happened, he was taken away with a broken hip in an ambulance. If I had refused to talk, would I have just driven home?. I don’t think so. I went to see this poor old guy in hospital that evening. He told me I had stopped really fast, had not hit him, but he lost his balance and fell against my car and then the ground braking his hip. Lucky for me he turned out to be a really nice honest guy.
Klaus S
Yep, happened to me! A little noisy confrontation with my wife inside my house about a notebook that needed to be returned to the shop (was a loaner) was misunderstand by a Spanish speaking nurse who called police. I was questioned in my store because I left my house to go to work (without the notebook loaner). I was very nice to police and told them the story but he arrested me for home-violence! All cleared up after some days and I was NOT charged with anything – I will NEVER volunteer information anymore! I cannot think what can happen in a serious case!
One of my first lectures I watched on youtube. Great material.

Coming After Us Six Ways from Sunday

Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare Logo | Spivak ... Founders_Finger_Gulag

Re: Andy Ostrowski’s false psych hold and a most curious comment

Subject: Re: Andy Ostrowski — recent comment on post
Date: Oct 9, 2017 10:49 AM
JoAnne is absolutely correct in her posts.
The Americans with Disabilities Act, confirms the RULE OF LAW and the Constitution. In order for any involuntary incarceration under the 5th and 14th Amendments DUE PROCESS must be strictly observed.  All that this requires is NOTICE AND HEARING.  There is a District Court case in Wisconsin that suggests that in this regard Form TRUMPS Substance, and a totally biased finder of fact still meets the criteria.  However, this was not the situation!
An ex-parte commitment order to be enforced by Police Act is so wrong that it is a massive stretch for any policeman participating to not be legally and criminally culpable for any action on his part that interferes with the civil rights of a victim – in this case Andy.   (The fact that Andy may have given his key to someone is irrelevant – and the fact that he might have on social media made statements that were offensive to someone are not grounds for summary incarceration.  THIS IS NOT ALLOWABLE under the Constitution and ANY LAW THAT IS or is interpreted to deny basic DUE PROCESS is void.   A middle school student is required to know this fact – to require a well paid judge/lawyer/policeman to be aware of such a proposition is equally appropriate.
I agree with JoAnne — ANDY’s incarceration was WRONGFUL, and criminal.    All the miscreants involved ought to be charged with KIDNAPPING, tried and sent to jail!   The Gulag cannot be tolerated in America.
Ken Ditkowsky
 Continue Reading: https://marygsykes.com/2017/10/09/re-andy-ostrowskis-false-psych-hold-and-a-most-curious-comment/

Activist Lawyer Released

Hallelujah! Andy Ostrowski lawyer activist has been released and we have video conference he is okay

some comments from Ken Ditkowsky:

AT this point in time Andy has been free – below is a link to his interview with John Adams   – it is worth a listen – at least in part.
On Friday, September 29, 2017, 8:10:01 PM CDT, Brian Fedorka <bfedorka82@gmail.com> wrote:
You can go to his page for a live video interview (crappy audio) earlier today with John Adams. If you don’t trust the link below then to repeat, simply visit Andy’s facebook page, ‘Andy Ostrowski’.
It is now clear that we are in fact all in danger.  As an attorney Andy had the training to know what he was facing and to deal with it; however, had the miscreants been able to drug him — he would have been a candidate for “elder cleansing!
Now that the ordeal is over, Andy indicates that he wants to get on with his life – however — the wrongful mental health arrest of Andy is a warning for every one of us — Democracy is not a spectator sport and in a flash – any one of us, including some of us who feel immune, can be hauled off to the Gulag and the next time any one sees us – they see a zombie!    A dose or two of the right chemical and  – bingo!   You are none person!

Continue Reading: https://marygsykes.com/2017/09/30/hallelujah-andy-ostrowski-lawyer-activist-has-been-released-and-we-have-video-conference-he-is-okay/


Hospital Holding Cells

From Ken Ditkowsky-Attorney Activist Andy Ostrowski still missing and what happens when a mental health issue means jail time in the US?




Early last year, two suicidal patients showed up at a hospital emergency room in Pierre, South Dakota, seeking help. Although the incidents happened weeks apart, both patients ended up in an unexpected place: jail.

Across the country, and especially in rural areas, people in the middle of a mental health crisis are locked in a cell when a hospital bed or transportation to a hospital isn’t immediately available. The patients are transported from the ER like inmates, handcuffed in the back of police vehicles. Laws in five states — New Mexico, North and South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming — explicitly say that correctional facilities may be used for what is called a “mental health hold.” Even in states without such laws, the practice happens regularly.

“It is a terrible solution…for what is, at the end of the day, a medical crisis,” said John Snook, executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center, a national group that advocates for the severely mentally ill. Research shows that the risk for suicide, self-harm and worsening symptoms increases the longer a person is behind bars.

But in a shift, Colorado recently outlawed using jail to detain people in a psychiatric crisis who have not committed a crime. The state delegated just over $9 million — with $6 million coming from marijuana tax revenue — to pay for local crisis centers, training for law enforcement and transportation programs.

The new law was passed after Colorado’s sheriffs lobbied the state to extend the amount of time a person could be detained. In rural counties, sheriffs testified, lack of manpower meant they were forced to hold onto people longer than the 24-hour legal limit. A state task force instead recommended ending the practice entirely.

There are no national figures on how many people are held each year in jail just because they have nowhere else to go in a mental health crisis. Reports from the federal agency overseeing hospitals — the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — offer a glimpse. Since 2011, at least 22 hospitals in 16 states have been cited by CMS for failing to stabilize patients in need of mental health help, instead handing them over to law enforcement to wait for a psychiatric evaluation or a bed. The hospitals span the country, from Alabama and South Dakota to New York and Ohio.

The practice affects patients of all ages. At Avera St. Mary’s Hospital in Pierre, South Dakota, children from 12 to 16 were sent to spend the night in jail on at least seven occasions, CMS inspection reports show. One 16-year-old girl came to the emergency room after overdosing on Motrin and was escorted to jail less than an hour after her arrival, without a psychiatric evaluation. Hospital staff waited until the morning to notify her parents. At the same hospital, a 12-year-old girl arrived in the emergency room after an attempted hanging. She was sent to spend the night in jail less than an hour later. The hospital did not respond to requests for comment.

Few people think jail is an appropriate place for someone in a mental health crisis. Most jails, especially small rural facilities, do not have mental health staffers on site. For the suicidal, law enforcement agencies have few options other than periodically stopping by the cell to check on the person and putting potentially violent individuals in restraints and seclusion. Once someone has been held for 24 hours, he or she has to be charged, transferred to a treatment facility or released. “People should not, because of their mental illness, be in jail,” said Jennie Simpson, a public health analyst with Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the federal agency that oversees national behavioral health policies.

The problem highlights a nationwide scarcity of available doctors and inpatient beds for people in a mental health crisis, particularly the poor. The number of psychiatric beds decreased by 96% across the country over the past 50 years, research shows. At the same time, awareness of mental health needs has increased and more people have access to health insurance, allowing them to seek care.

The issue was exacerbated by a 1972 federal law that was intended to help stop the widespread warehousing of people with mental illness. The law forbids the federal government from paying for inpatient mental health and drug treatment at psychiatric facilities with more than 16 beds. States are left to foot the entire medical bill for those on public insurance, straining budgets already struggling in the midst of the opioid crisis. A federal commission recently recommended that exemptions to the law be given immediately to states that request one.

In New Hampshire, a long waitlist for beds led the state to begin sending non-criminals who were ordered committed for their own safety to a prison psychiatric unit for treatment. Patients and inmates participate in the same therapy programs. During group therapy, to protect patients and staff, particularly violent inmates are placed in metal cages with a bench.

The decision of who gets sent to the sheriff and who gets to stay in the ER can have serious consequences. Baptist Memorial Hospital in Union City, Tennessee, was cited by CMS in 2012 for allowing an eye doctor to evaluate suicidal patients. The doctor discharged one patient to jail who returned to the hospital the next day after attempting suicide. He later died of his injuries.

Continue Reading: https://marygsykes.com/2017/09/26/from-ken-ditkowsky-attorney-activist-andy-ostrowski-still-missing-and-what-happens-when-a-mental-health-issue-means-jail-time-in-the-us/

Continued Mystery Surrounds Activist Attorney Disappearance

From KD – we are still looking for activist attorney Andy Ostrowski, taken from his home by officers against his will last week

Posted on 

No one from any of the social media or boards we know has heard from him, however, recently an unknown woman claiming to be a relative wrote to all of us to say he is fine, this has happened before and is a private matter and not to enquire further.

Whooooa.  How many times have we heard this one before.  No proof of this, never heard from her before, but it seems she “suddenly” can find all the right emails.

I find her email (without any proof of her assertions) to be most alarming.

In any case, here is an exchange of emails:  Please pray for Andy he is safe and will be released soon.  He is an amazing, talented, kind light worker and we are all very, very concerned for him.

I am including all the emails, because they may include witnesses to a crime:  false arrest and kidnapping of OA.  All emails have been forwarded to the FBI.

Andy, as a long time activist may be in grave danger.

Continue Reading: https://marygsykes.com/2017/09/25/from-kd-we-are-still-looking-for-activist-attorney-andy-ostrowski-taken-from-his-home-by-officers-against-his-will-last-week/


Judicial Reform Activist And Attorney Abducted By Police While Broadcasting

By Janet Phelan

Judicial reform activist and radio personality Andy Ostrowski has been taken into custody against his will and forced into a psychiatric evaluation. His abduction took place yesterday, September 19, at approximately 3 pm in Wilkes-Barre, PA, where Ostrowski resides.

Ostrowski was taken while on Facebook live and the incident was captured on video. The video is available here:

Read full article here: https://www.activistpost.com/2017/09/judicial-reform-activist-attorney-abducted-police-broadcasting.html