Appeals Accepted in First Miller Cases

Less than three weeks after a Supreme Court ruling mandated it, an Iowa court gives two inmates the right to appeal the life without parole sentences they were given years ago when they were 17 years old. “We’re thrilled to see these concrete steps being made,” said Jody Kent Lavy, director of the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth. “They are obviously required to do so,” she added. The Iowa cases may be the first nationwide re-opened under Miller v. Alabama. The Supreme Court said in Miller that sentencing judges must consider mitigating factors in dealing with juvenile homicide cases.

New Child Labor Laws Could Hurt Small Farms, Advocates Say

Local farm advocates in Iowa are concerned a new set of child-labor laws would inadvertently restrict the number of future farmers and place unnecessary restrictions on family farms.

According to The Daily Iowan, the U.S. Department of Labor proposed a new set of rules in 2011 that prohibit children under the age of 16 from working in manure pits or with certain animals unless their parents completely own the farm. However, many smaller farms in Iowa are multigenerational, Russ Meade, president of the Johnson County Farm Bureau told The Iowan. “We have a diverse makeup of smaller farms that rely heavily on extended family involvement,” Meade said. “[The regulations] would significantly restrict kids’ ability to participate.” Iowa farmer Kurt Dallmeyer said the rules could impact the number of children interested in farming, putting local farms at risk in the future and increasing the trend of factory farms in the state.

After Iowa: Candidates’ Records on Juvenile Justice and Education Issues

The first leg of the 2012 presidential race ended in a virtual dead heat between Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, with the former Massachusetts governor edging the former Pennsylvania senator by a mere eight votes in Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses. With several primaries scheduled for the month of January, the results of Iowa’s contest may be just the beginning of a long and potentially tumultuous road to establishing a Republican challenger to President Obama this November. In regards to juvenile justice and education issues, both Romney and Santorum have figured prominently in establishing reform measures within their respective states. Romney served as the governor of Massachusetts from 2003-2007, overseeing an overhaul of the state’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee during his first year in office. In 2003, the American Civil Liberties Union criticized Massachusetts officials for failing to comply with the Disproportionate Minority Confinement provision of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Provision Act [JJDP] of 1974.  In response, the Romney administration outlined a complete reorganization of the state’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee [JJAC], a State Advisory Group established by a 2002 addendum to the JJDP Act.