skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 204540 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Washington: An Assessment of Access to Counsel and Quality of Representation in Juvenile Offender Matters
Author(s): Elizabeth M. Calvin; Elizabeth Gladden; Patricia Puritz
Corporate Author: American Bar Assoc
Juvenile Justice Ctr
United States of America
Date Published: October 2003
Page Count: 96
Sponsoring Agency: American Bar Assoc
Washington, DC 20005
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 1999-JN-FX-0003
Sale Source: American Bar Assoc
Juvenile Justice Ctr
740 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This report presents the methodology and findings of an assessment of the quality of legal representation for juveniles processed in the justice system of Washington State.
Abstract: Investigative teams of experienced juvenile justice professionals conducted over 200 in-person interviews with judges, commissioners, prosecutors, probation officers, detention staff, defense attorneys, court administrators, social workers, advocates, parents, and juveniles across the State. Surveys were mailed to 230 juvenile defense attorneys in all 39 counties across the State, yielding responses from 100 attorneys in 33 counties. The study found that most counties have not adopted public defense standards as required under State law; consequently, the quality of defense services is inconsistent and unreliable. The high-volume caseloads violate accepted practice standards and reduce the quality of representation. There is no comprehensive and regular training or supervision of defense attorneys for juveniles in most jurisdictions. Although juveniles are represented by counsel at most juvenile court proceedings, some counties do not provide counsel at probable-cause hearings. Further, in direct conflict with national standards, Washington law permits juveniles to waive their right to counsel. The study also found that defense attorneys seldom assist clients after the juvenile court case is concluded, even to make referrals for needed services. The study recommends that juveniles be represented by effective counsel at all court hearings, including probable-cause hearings. Washington law should be changed to conform to national standards that prohibit juveniles from waiving the right to counsel. Continuity of legal representation should continue to be supported and enforced throughout the State; and every county should establish practice standards as mandated by State law. A State ombudsman office should be created and funded to deal with complaints about delivery of public defense services. Other recommendations pertain to training for defense attorneys, limits on the size of attorney caseloads, and the development of focus areas in law schools to address the representation of juveniles. Appended paper on the representation of status offenders in Washington State juvenile courts and 127 notes
Main Term(s): Juvenile processing
Index Term(s): Defense; Defense counsel; Defense counsel effectiveness; Defense preparation; Defense services; OJJDP grant-related documents; Public defenders; Right to counsel; Rights of minors; State juvenile justice systems; State juvenile laws; Washington
Note: Downloaded March 10, 2004.
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.