Stephanie Ciupka

  • Hosted by Lawndale Christian Legal Center
  • Sponsored by Latham & Watkins LLP
  • Service location Chicago, Illinois
  • Law school Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law
  • Issue area Criminal Justice Reform
  • Fellowship class year 2017
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

New research tells us 18-26-year-olds (emerging adults) are neurologically and developmentally more similar to juveniles than adults in terms of risk-taking, undervaluation of long-term consequences, and susceptibility to peer pressure. They are also not subject to the same formal social controls as younger adolescents, nor have they developed the informal social controls that come with family responsibilities and stable employment. These features of emergent adulthood exacerbate other risk factors like poverty, residential segregation, neighborhood disadvantage and a lack of economic or geographic mobility—all of which present challenges to individuals growing up in North Lawndale. But like juveniles, emerging adults are uniquely capable of rehabilitation given community support. The development of a dedicated emerging adult practice at LCLC will fill this gap and bring its practice up-to-date with what we now know about emerging adults.

Fellowship Highlights

During the Fellowship period, Stephanie has:

  • Provided effective and holistic representation to emerging adults in criminal court, developing increasing independence.
  • Litigated motions to modify conditions of bond; created extensive mitigation packets that reflect the unique, individualized circumstances of her emerging adult clients (for purposes of bail modification or negotiation); and litigated (and won) a misdemeanor criminal trial for a 23-year old emerging adult.
  • Initiated a project with her sponsor regarding the difficulties emerging adults face when subjected to pre-trial electronically monitored home confinement.

Meet Other Fellows Like Stephanie

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Andrea Woods

Host: American Civil Liberties Union Criminal Law Reform Project and Human Rights Program

Sponsor: Intellectual Ventures, The Ottinger Family Foundation

LaTri-c-ea McClendon-Hunt

Host: Rhode Island Legal Services

Maya Dimant Lentz

Host: James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy

Sponsor: DLA Piper

Mani Nezami

Host: Earl Carl Institute

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Texas Access to Justice Foundation