SDNY Young Adult Opportunity Program
Please be advised of the following changes to the application process for the Young Adult Opportunity Program (YAOP).
YAOP candidates who submit an application by October 29, 2021 will receive a decision no later than December 23, 2021. Should the applicant be accepted to YAOP, he/she will attend his/her first session on January 4, 2022.
YAOP candidates who submit an application by January 28, 2022 will receive a decision no later than March 25, 2022. Should the applicant be accepted to YAOP, he/she will attend his/her first session on April 5, 2022.
YAOP candidates who submit an application by April 29, 2022 will receive a decision no later than June 24, 2022. Should the applicant be accepted to YAOP, he/she will attend his/her first session on July 12, 2022 (Second Tuesday of July).
YAOP candidates who submit an application by July 29, 2022 will receive a decision no later than September 23, 2022. Should the applicant be accepted to YAOP, he/she will attend his/her first session on October 11, 2022 (Second Tuesday of October).
The SDNY Young Adult Opportunity Program (the “Program”) will provide selected young adult defendants with intensive supervision by Pretrial Services (“Pretrial”) and regular interaction with the supervising federal judges Hon. Ronnie Abrams and Hon. Sarah Netburn (the “Program Judges”). The Program will provide young adult defendants with structure and access to employment, counseling, and treatment resources. Program participants, if they are successful, may receive a shorter sentence, a reduction or deferral of the charges filed against them, or possibly a dismissal of the charges entirely. “
Criteria for, and Selection of, Program Participants: The Program is intended to benefit non- violent young adult (i.e., between 18-25 years old) defendants. Defendants over 25 years old may be considered for participation on a case-by-case basis.
Participants may be recommended for participation in the Program by any federal judge, Pretrial, defense counsel, or the United States Attorney’s Office (the “USAO”). After a participant has been recommended, the judge handling the case, Pretrial, the USAO, 1 or counsel for the defendant may object to the candidate’s participation in the Program. The Program Judges will select the participants in the Program, subject to the consent of the district judges to whom the defendants’ cases are assigned. Upon approval, each participant’s case will be transferred to the Program’s district judge for all purposes, including sentencing.
Candidates for the Program must be willing to participate voluntarily in the Program. Candidates must execute an agreement setting forth the obligations and potential benefits of Program participation, and must consent to the transfer of their case to one of the Program Judges. As a general matter, candidates should have limited criminal history (e.g., neither current charges nor prior convictions of crimes of violence, firearms offenses, sex offenses, or crimes against children, including child pornography offenses), and candidates should have no other pending criminal cases or active warrants; however, exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis. Depending on the circumstances (e.g., if a candidate is a defendant in a multi-defendant case that is expected to proceed to trial), the candidate may be required to plead guilty as a condition of his continued participation in the Program.
Program Duration: Participants generally should begin their participation in the program within 45 days of their arrest. Most defendants are expected to complete the program within a 12 to 18- month period.
Benefits of Program Participation: The Program will provide youthful defendants with structure and access to employment, counseling, and treatment resources. If successfully completed, program participants may potentially receive a shorter sentence, a reduction or deferral of the charges filed against them, or dismissal of the charges entirely.
1 The USAO will work with the Court, Pretrial, and defense counsel to assess candidates who might benefit from the program. If the USAO does not approve a candidate for participation, the USAO will provide its reasons for rejecting the candidate, unless those reasons cannot be disclosed without compromising witnesses, investigations, or ongoing cases. In circumstances where the USAO believes it cannot disclose the reasons, the USAO would be prepared to provide an explanation ex parte to the Program Judges, with notice to the defendant’s counsel.