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NCJ Number: 180851 Find in a Library
Title: Access Denied: Incarcerated Juveniles and Their Right of Access to Courts
Journal: William and Mary Bill of Rights Journal  Volume:7  Issue:2  Dated:February 1999  Pages:613-643
Author(s): Amy E. Webbink
Date Published: 1999
Page Count: 31
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper analyzes why a different standard of "meaningful access" to courts is necessary to protect juveniles, with attention to the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Lewis v. Casey and the potential persuasive authority of John L. v. Adams on incarcerated juveniles' right of access to the courts.
Abstract: In Lewis v. Casey (1996), the Supreme Court redefined a prisoner's right of access to the courts, significantly limiting the commonly accepted definition of "meaningful access" as set forth in Bounds v. Smith (1977). As lower courts struggle to grasp this new definition, incarcerated juveniles face a significant risk of losing meaningful access to the courts. Casey's scope of right of access to the courts threatens to undermine John L. v. Adams (1992), an earlier Sixth Circuit decision largely based on "Bounds'" scope of the right. Part I of the paper analyzes the Sixth Circuit's holding in John L. v. Adams. Part II examines the Supreme Court's decision in Lewis v. Casey and its redefinition of the right of access. Part III discusses the impact of "Casey" in the current context of juvenile justice as defined by the movement away from rehabilitation, the conditions of juvenile confinement, and the general trend of reducing prisoner litigation. Part IV details three arguments for the post-Casey persuasive authority of "John L." First, the Casey decision is not a decisive precedent for cases that involve confined juveniles; second, juveniles should qualify as a separate category of inmates who require affirmative assistance; and third, juveniles suffer actual injury by not having legal representation. 225 footnotes
Main Term(s): Juvenile inmates
Index Term(s): Access to courts; Prisoner's rights; US Supreme Court decisions
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