Role of Counsel / Scope of Representation

6th_amendmentThe role of juvenile defense counsel is a distinct one of expressed interest advocacy. Ethical and professional obligations, as well as other practice standards dictate that the lawyer’s duty in delinquency proceedings is to represent the client’s stated interest, and not what counsel, the judge, or the client’s parents believe to be in the child’s best interests. Further, given the special needs of youth in the delinquency system, best practice dictates a more expansive scope of representation than that in adult court. Juvenile defense counsel’s representation should begin prior to the initial hearing and extend throughout the post-disposition phases of the case. Below are some publications that address the importance juvenile defense counsel’s role and the breadth of representation:

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