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The Cost of Justice: How Low-Income Youth Continue To Pay the Price of Failing Indigent Defense Systems

Published Apr 7, 2010, Katayoon Majd and Patricia Puritz

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From the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy, Volume XVI, Symposium Issue 2009:

No right is more fundamental for youth in delinquency cases than the right to counsel. In 1967, the United States Supreme Court held in In re Gault that this right belongs to all youth, regardless of income. As the last four decades have shown, however, the juvenile indigent defense systems created in Gault’s wake have consistently failed to provide quality representation to the low-income youth they were designed to serve. Major obstacles and inequities persist in the implementation of the right to counsel in juvenile courts, and the burden of these floundering juvenile indigent defense systems—and the attendant denials of other due process rights—fall overwhelmingly on low-income youth and youth of color.

Reform areas: Juvenile indigent defense

Categories: Juvenile indigent defense

Uploaded Apr 7, 2010


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Models for Change was a juvenile justice systems reform initiative supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, website operated by Justice Policy Institute.