Appointment of Counsel / Access to Counsel

14th Amendment

In 1967 the U.S. Supreme Court held in In re Gault that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment requires any child facing “the awesome prospect of incarceration” have “the guiding hand of counsel at every step in the proceedings against him.” Nearly three decades after this decision, the Due Process Advocacy Project provided the first national examination of youth’s access to counsel, entitled: A Call for Justice: An Assessment of Access to Counsel and Quality Representation in Delinquency Proceedings. The problems revealed through A Call for Justice led to the creation of the National Juvenile Defender Center, and issues related to access to counsel and appointment of counsel remain at the forefront of NJDC’s work today.

With respect to the appointment of juvenile defense counsel, NJDC believes:

Resources on Appointment of and Access to Counsel:


Why America’s Children Need Good Lawyers
(a TedTalk with NJDC’s Executive Director, Kim Dvorchak)






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