Daily Briefs

Woman gets probation for posting fake sex ad

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A Grand Rapids woman has been sentenced to serve a year of probation for posting a fake online ad offering sex with a woman with whom she argued outside a Meijer store.
Amy Burnett was sentenced Wednesday in Kent County Circuit Court. She pleaded no contest to unlawfully posting a message and using a computer to commit a crime.
A woman confronted Burnett on June 22 after finding a dog left unattended in Burnett’s vehicle.
Police say the 37-year-old Burnett continued to contact the woman for days afterward and used the victim’s telephone number to post a Craigslist ad offering sexual favors for a monetary donation.
Defense lawyer Jim Mullendore says Burnett “certainly understands what she did was wrong and acted under impulse.”


Free online toolkit aims to inform lawyers who work with youth

Research shows that most young people entering the juvenile or adult justice system have been exposed to violence and other traumatic events, and often they have experienced trauma multiple times. Research also shows that the greater the degree of exposure, the more likely the child will suffer physically, socially and emotionally, says Howard Davidson, director of the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law.
These factors led to the creation of a free toolkit, available online and intended for use by the justice system. The toolkit, titled “Identifying Polyvictimization and Trauma Among Court-Involved Children and Youth: A Checklist and Resource Guide for Attorneys and Other Court-Appointed Advocates,” is designed to make legal representation of children in delinquency, dependency (abuse/neglect) and other cases more focused on addressing the victimization a child client has experienced, and on how that client has been affected by multiple traumas, Davidson says.
Lawyers can use the toolkit’s checklist to identify and better understand what violence and other distress their child clients have experienced, he says.
The checklist provides a vehicle to help lawyers determine whether the youth they represent has one of more than 20 adverse symptoms that may indicate their client is suffering from severe traumatic stress.
Accompanying the toolkit is the issue brief “Victimization and Trauma Experienced by Children and Youth: Implications for Legal Advocates.” Among the topics the document covers are: understanding the symptoms of traumatic stress; the role of legal advocates, judges and court staff; screening instruments for identifying past trauma and exposure to violence; descriptions of relevant state and local initiatives; and considerations related to developing a trauma-informed legal practice.
Davidson encouraged development of the documents and facilitated support for them through the Safe Start Center, a program funded by the Department of Justice.
The final products represent a partnership between the ABA, Safe Start, Child and Family Policy Associates and the Chadwick Center for Children and Families.