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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 192708 Find in a Library
Title: Juvenile Indigent Defense: Crisis and Solutions
Journal: Criminal Justice Magazine  Volume:15  Issue:1  Dated:Spring 2000  Pages:1-9
Author(s): Patricia Puritz; Wendy Shang
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 9
Document: HTML
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article reports on a 1993 study by the American Bar Association Juvenile Justice Center, in partnership with the Youth Law Center and Juvenile Law Center, regarding the crisis in and remedies for the effective defense of indigent juveniles.
Abstract: The results of this study were published in 1996 in "A Call for Justice: An Assessment of Access to Counsel and Quality of Representation in Delinquency Proceedings." The study found that although some attorneys were able to vigorously represent their clients, many continued to work under tremendous systemic burdens, such as high caseloads, lack of office and investigative support, and lack of training. In many cases, children had proceeded through the juvenile courts without a lawyer. High caseloads were identified by defense attorneys as the single most important barrier to effective representation, with the average caseload exceeding 500 cases per year, with 300 of those being juvenile cases. Policies and caseloads prevented attorneys from conducting postdispositional representation. In the face of these serious problems, the study identified several innovative programs across the country that deliver first-rate legal services to children. Generally, such programs share the following characteristics: the ability to limit/control caseloads; support for entering the case early and the flexibility to represent or refer the client in related collateral matters; comprehensive initial and ongoing training and available source materials; adequate nonlawyer support and resources; hands-on supervision by lawyers; and a work environment that values and nurtures juvenile court practice. This article also discusses legal help for children tried as adults, public education and legislative advocacy, and research and data collection.
Main Term(s): Juvenile court procedures
Index Term(s): Caseloads; Defense; Defense counsel; Defense services; Indigents; Legal aid services; Public defenders; Rights of minors
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