Topic Archive: Appointment of Counsel / Access to Counsel

Contract Counsel

Broken Contracts: Reimagining High-Quality Representation of Youth in Contract and Appointed Counsel Systems A Report and Toolkit Though juvenile courts process more than 850,000 juvenile delinquency cases every year, no comprehensive data exists regarding how many young people are represented by public defenders or contract, appointed, or assigned counsel. While talented lawyers practice in each…

Delaware Assessment

Delaware: An Assessment of Access to Counsel and Quality of Representation in Juvenile Delinquency Proceedings Released on July 12, 2017, the Delaware Assessment is based on interviews, observation, and research conducted by a team of expert investigators who analyzed Delaware Family Courts over a span of months. While promising practices have been implemented statewide, there is still…

Honoring Gault: Ensuring Access to Counsel in Delinquency Proceedings

In partnership with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, we released “Honoring Gault: Ensuring Access to Counsel in Delinquency Proceedings,” an information card to promote judicial leadership in fulfilling children’s constitutional right to representation in juvenile court. This information card highlights due process and the right to counsel; ethical standards; and key…

DOJ Issues Findings Report on Juvenile Due Process in St. Louis County

On July 31, 2015, the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division issued historic Findings in the Investigation of the St. Louis Family Court stating that there is reason to believe that the St. Louis Family Court engages in conduct that violates the constitutional guarantees of Due Process and Equal Protection under the law. Citing the National Juvenile Defender…

DOJ Statement of Interest on Juvenile Access to Counsel

NJDC applauds the Federal Government’s filing (on March 13, 2015) of a landmark Statement of Interest (SOI) in an ongoing Georgia case that takes a strong stance on the right to effective access to counsel for juveniles and the need for procedural safeguards against an uninformed waiver of that right. In the SOI filed in…

Florida Juvenile Rules Amendments

Since 2006 the release of the National Juvenile Defender Center Assessment’s Florida: An Assessment of Access to Counsel and Quality of Representation in Delinquency Proceedings, advocates in Florida have made the following changes to the Florida Rules Juvenile Rules in order to ameliorate impediments to effective juvenile defense. The changes outlined below can be found in…

People v. Lessie

The NJDC co-authored an amicus brief before the California Supreme Court with the Los Angeles Public Defender’s Office on the issue of whether a child’s request for a parent is a per se invocation of his Fifth Amendment rights. In this case, Lessie, the 16-year-old defendant, was taken into police custody and interrogated. Prior to…

In re P.M.P.

NJDC co-authored an amicus brief with the Urban Legal Clinic at Rutgers Law School that relied on the latest adolescent development research to argue that the New Jersey Supreme Court should extend juveniles additional protection at interrogation, including prohibiting questioning without counsel, and allow the filing of a delinquency complaint to trigger a juvenile’s right to…

Bellevue Sch. Dist. v. E.S.

NJDC signed onto an amicus brief written by the Juvenile Law Center supporting the Washington Court of Appeals ruling that a student has a due process right to counsel at the initial hearing of a juvenile court truancy proceeding. Other amici in this case included the ACLU of Washington, arguing the state and federal constitutional…

DOJ & Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County

The Report In 2012, the Department of Justice issued a report finding that the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County (TN) failed to provide constitutionally required due process to children of all races and that the court’s administration of justice discriminates against black children. Further, it found that the court had violated the substantive…

State v. Diaz

In March 2013, NJDC signed on to an amicus brief filed by the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth, urging the Supreme Court to affirm the trial court’s ruling that 15-year-old Maricela Diaz did not knowingly and intelligently waive her Miranda rights before a nine-hour interrogation, and suppressing her confession, a decision that was reversed…

Juvenile Waiver of Counsel

Disturbingly large numbers of youth waive their right to counsel without a full understanding of the long and short term consequences of this action. As Standard 10.4 of the National Juvenile Defense Standards points out, “[t]he problem with juvenile waiver of counsel is clear: children require the advice and assistance of counsel to make decisions with…

E.C. v. Virginia Dep’t of Juvenile Justice

In 2011, NJDC filed an amicus brief and a supporting supplemental brief, joined by Mid-Atlantic Juvenile Defender Center, the Disability Law Clinic, the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth, and other interested parties, in support of a challenge to the lower court’s ruling that Virginia courts lose jurisdiction over pending habeas cases as soon as…

In re Austin M.

In 2011, NJDC, Juvenile Law Center, Loyola Civitas ChildLaw Center, and the Children and Family Justice Center of the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University School of Law, joined as amici in a brief to the Illinois Supreme Court, arguing that Austin M.’s constitutional right to counsel in a delinquency proceeding was breached where his…

People v. Patterson

NJDC joined the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth, the Exoneration Project at University of Chicago Law School, and several other interested organizations in filing an amicus brief in the Illinois Supreme Court. Amici urged the court to uphold the Illinois Appellate Court decision overturning the trial court’s conviction of 15-year-old Ronald Patterson and suppressing his…

Appointment of Counsel / Access to Counsel

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…

In re Gault

  This decision was the turning point for the rights of juveniles in U.S. Courts. It was the first time that the Supreme Court held that children facing delinquency prosecution have many of the same legal rights as adults in criminal court, including the right to an attorney, the right to remain silent, the right…

Colorado Assessment

Colorado: An Assessment of Access to Counsel and Quality of Representation in Juvenile Delinquency Proceedings (Winter 2012)   Summaries and Press Releases: NJDC & Colorado Juvenile Defender Center Press Release   Legislative Follow-Up: Following NJDC’s Assessment, the State Legislature established a legislative study committee to investigate issues raised in the assessment.  Following the Interim Committee’s…

State Assessments

A cornerstone of the National Juvenile Defender Center’s work is to understand how juvenile defense is delivered around the country and to support excellence in the provision of those services. As part of that work, NJDC conducts state-specific assessments of youth access to, and the quality of, juvenile defense counsel when they come in contact…