THE LAW HAS CHANGED IN JUVENILE JUSTICE

ONCE UPON A TIME juveniles were subject to privilege that prevented anybody from finding out they had been in trouble.  They had a bit less protection under due process because the consequences were thought to be much less serious.  THAT IS OVER!  Now, kids in trouble find that their delinquent acts can follow them their whole life.  It is no longer enough to just check for what the system thinks is in their best interest.  Charges have to be defended because the stakes are life changing!

Add to that the changes in the lawyer’s duty at a plea of guilty (advise of all consequences, including immigration), and you have a situation in which the old ways of going along with the child protection workers are no longer legal. Defense lawyers are not a potted plant: you have to be engaged for your clients in a zealous fashion.  While you should maintain a realistic sensitivity for the best future of your kid client, you can’t just defer to the judge or the CFS workers.

This means you can’t walk in, meet the client for the first time and simply advise the client what the deal is going to be.  You have to represent, and that means in some cases you will oppose the adjudication.  But in every case you have to be informed and inform the client in advance of the options available.  This means communication with your client and counseling by the lawyer.