Juvenile Practice Group
Juvenile defense is a specialized practice requiring specialized skill, and our juvenile practice group’s goal is to help ensure all juveniles in Wisconsin receive competent and skilled representation. Towards that goal, we developed these Core Principles of Juvenile Practice. These principles set forth a statewide vision for the role of juvenile defense counsel throughout the duration of the juvenile court process that integrates and is consistent with state and Constitutional law, the code of professional responsibility and the science of adolescent development.
In addition to creating and disseminating these principles, the juvenile practice coordinators are always available to provide advice and consultation to inquiries from SPD staff members and private bar attorneys taking juvenile cases. We work hard to remain current on all legal developments in juvenile practice and identify areas where training opportunities would be beneficial. We are here to develop and maintain resources related to juvenile cases, and are connected to other juvenile system entities and stakeholders who help us to identify areas where we may improve our juvenile justice system and better serve our juvenile clients.
We hope that the Juvenile Practice Group website will be a readily accessible resource for juvenile defense attorneys to find and share sample motions, ideas, research, and other resources. If you have motions, briefs, guides, etc. that you would like to contribute, please send them our way. We feel that working together is the best way to elevate the practice of juvenile law and improve the delivery of legal services to all our youthful clients.
For more information, please contact the Practice Group Coordinators:
Eileen Fredericks is the Juvenile Practice Group Co-Coordinator with Devon Lee. Eileen has previously worked in the SPD’s Milwaukee Juvenile/Mental Health and Kenosha offices. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame in May 2001, earning a B.A. in Government with a concentration in Public Policy. She went to the University of Wisconsin Law School hoping to become a lawyer for children and teens. While attending law school, Eileen also earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work in order to better understand the needs and struggles of many of the people we represent, and to learn how to better assist people in solving and coping with life’s problems. She is thrilled to be doing the work she always wanted to do with so many great people at the SPD.
Devon Lee is the SPD's Legal Counsel. Devon joined the SPD in 2001 in the Madison Juvenile Unit, where she represented children in CHIPS and delinquency proceedings. In 2007, she moved to the Madison Appellate Unit, where she represented adults and juveniles. Prior to working at the SPD, Devon worked at the National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse, where she provided training and technical assistance to child abuse prosecutors nationwide. Devon has presented regionally and nationally on juvenile justice issues and served on working groups focused on high-risk juvenile offenders and achieving permanency for older foster youth.
Diane Rondini-Harness has been a staff attorney in the State of Wisconsin Milwaukee Juvenile Public Defender’s Office since 1987. Attorney Rondini-Harness represents children in delinquency proceedings, child in need of protection and services proceedings, and juvenile in need of protection and services proceedings. She also represents parents in termination of parental rights proceedings. Attorney Rondini-Harness is a 1984 graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BA degree in Political Science and a certificate in Women’s Studies. She is a 1987 graduate of the University Of Wisconsin Law School. Ms. Rondini-Harness has served as an adjunct instructor at Bryant & Stratton College, teaching Criminal Courts and Juvenile Justice. Attorney Rondini-Harness is currently an adjunct professor at Marquette University in the College of Professional Studies. Courses taught include: Criminal Theory in Public Service and Social Policy, Special Topics: Children in Need of Protection and Services, Introduction to Criminology, Juvenile Justice, Ethics in the Criminal Justice System, and Women, Crime and the Law. Attorney Rondini-Harness has been a member of the College of Professional Studies Graduate Assessment Committee and the College of Professional Studies Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. She has also served as a faculty advisor to several students for independent study and the capstone experience. Ms. Rondini-Harness has been a guest lecturer in the Juvenile Justice course at Marquette University Law School, and was a volunteer speaker at the Marquette Law School Public Service Conference, “Leaping the Gaps for Children with Special Needs.” Attorney Rondini-Harness has participated in several juvenile certification trainings for the Wisconsin State Public Defender. She has served as a volunteer committee member on the United Way of Greater Milwaukee Healthy Girls Initiative, and as a volunteer advisory board member for the Confidentiality Project, a joint project between the Children’s Court Improvement Program and the Children’s Justice Act Program.