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NCJ Number: 93865 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Law Guardians in New York State - A Study of the Legal Representation of Children
Author(s): J Knitzer; M Sobie
Corporate Author: New York State Bar Assoc
United States of America
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 283
Sponsoring Agency: Foundation for Child Development
New York, NY 10016-6055
Grant Foundation, Inc
New York, NY 10022
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
New York State Bar Assoc
Albany, NY 12207
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
Albany, NY 12203-3764
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This assessment of the effectiveness of legal representation accorded to children in New York State examines the quality of representation in all proceedings in which representation is either mandated or discretionary, drafts guidelines for the effective representation of children in specific proceedings, and analyzes the extent to which the current fiscal and administrative structure underpinning the Law Guardian Program facilitates or impedes the effective representation of individual children.
Abstract: In 1962, the New York Legislature provided for the appointiment of a law guardian at the request of a minor or parent in either neglect or delinquency proceedings. In 1970, in part to comply with the Supreme Court decision that juvenile delinquents have certain due process rights, including the right to counsel, the New York legislature made representation mandatory in not only juvenile delinquency proceedings but in proceedings involving abuse and neglect as well as persons in need of supervision. Law guardian representation is provided by panel attorneys in 53 counties in the State. The law guardian study involved a multi-pronged strategy that required the collection of different types of data from a variety of sources, including surveys of law guardians, onsite visits in 14 counties, court observation and an examination of court files, and interviews with children who had been represented by law guardians. The most significant finding was inadequacies in the general level of representation accorded children, regardless of the type of case. The majority of panel law guardians do not view themselves as experts in juvenile law, do not have the opportunity to receive training in this field, and represent relatively few children a year. Legal aid law guardians handle many cases a year but lack support staff and continuity policies. The administrative and fiscal structure of the law guardian program appears to compound many of the identified problems. Recommendations are intended to (1) improve and more effectively monitor the overall quality of representation; (2) strengthen the existing system of panel and legal aid representation; (3) provide a focus for enhanced State leadership of the law guardian program; (4) ensure that certain activities, such as training and appeals, are strengthened in a uniform way; and (5) relieve the burden now placed on both full and part-time law guardians to be informed in the absence of adequate support services and ongoing information about relevent legal or service developments. The appendixes detail the study methodology and instruments. (Author summary modified)
Index Term(s): Attorney ad litem; Defense counsel effectiveness; New York; Rights of minors; Systems analysis
Note: Conducted under the auspices of the Special Committee on Juvenile Justice of the NYSBA.
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