Law Schedule of Classes

NOTE: Course offerings change. Classes offered this semester may not be offered in future semesters.

235.32 sec. 001 - Youth Justice Law, Practice and Policy (Fall 2024)

Instructor: Jonathan Laba  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only | profile)
Instructor: Laura Ridolfi  
View all teaching evaluations for this course - degree students only

Units: 2
Grading Designation: Graded
Mode of Instruction: In-Person


W 6:25 PM - 8:15 PM
Location: Law 134
From August 21, 2024
To November 20, 2024

Course Start: August 21, 2024
Course End: November 20, 2024
Class Number: 32159

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 13
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 30
As of: 07/16 11:57 PM

This course will provide an overview of the philosophy, objectives and evolution of the youth justice system, with an emphasis on examining current issues from a practice and policy perspective. These issues will include the integration of adolescent development principles into youth justice policy, the goals and best practices in juvenile “disposition” (sentencing), the presence of pervasive racial and ethnic disparities, the school-to-prison pipeline, whether to “raise the age” of juvenile court jurisdiction, and the transfer of youth to the adult criminal system. The course will examine the role and impact of racism, bias, discrimination, power and privilege in youth justice and reflect on strategies used by lawyers and advocates to challenge structural inequity. While the course will examine national trends, there will be focused examination of reform policies California has adopted and rejected in recent years, as well as reforms the State is considering adopting in the near future. Both doctrinal study and practice exercises will be employed to allow students to gain an understanding of the system as it exists today as well as how to work toward system reform as a defense attorney, prosecutor, policy advocate, or a pro bono practitioner.

Jonathan Laba, a 1996 graduate of Berkeley Law, currently supervises the juvenile unit in the Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office. For most of his career, Jonathan has augmented his “day job” as an adult public defense trial and managing attorney with extensive youth justice policy advocacy efforts, including legislative and amicus work, training of juvenile defenders across the state, and engagement with community-based youth justice organizations. After teaching the Criminal Law Ethics Seminar for a decade at Berkeley Law, Jonathan was excited to co-develop and co-teach this course with Laura Ridolfi for the first time in fall 2022, aiming to introduce students to both the theoretical underpinnings of the juvenile legal system as well as how to engage with, and improve, the system as a lawyer and advocate.

Laura Ridolfi, a 2005 graduate of Berkeley Law, is a Racial Justice and Well-Being Strategist with the W. Haywood Burns Institute (BI). Laura has over fifteen years of experience at BI challenging racial hierarchies in the administration of justice. Laura works at the local, state and national level changing policy and practice to promote equity and eliminate racial and ethnic disparities. Laura partners with community-rooted organizations and advocacy groups on policy change in California that invest resources into community alternatives to the legal system and reduce the harms of system involvement on the lives of people of color. Laura advocates for democratizing youth justice data and promoting data transparency in service of system change and promoting equity. She is the author of numerous BI reports that highlight inequities in the criminal legal system and advocate for change.

Requirements Satisfaction:

Units from this class count towards the J.D. Race and Law Requirement.

The Race and Law Requirement applies to the class of 2026 and beyond.

Exam Notes: (None) Class requires a series of papers, assignments, or presentations throughout the semester
Course Category: Criminal Law
This course is listed in the following sub-categories:
Race and Law
Social Justice and Public Interest

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Required Books are in blue

  • Burning down the House
    Edition: 2014
    ISBN: 9781595589569
    e-Book Available: Unknown
    Price: $26.95
    Note: prices are sampled from internet bookstores. Law-school Bookstore prices are unavailable at this time.
  • Rage of Innocence
    Edition: 2021
    ISBN: 9781524748906
    e-Book Available: Unknown
    Copyright Date: To Be Determined
    Price: 30.00
    Note: prices are sampled from internet bookstores. Law-school Bookstore prices are unavailable at this time.

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