Although many states are actively working to keep young people out of their juvenile criminal justice systems, the fact is that many juveniles are still appearing before the Court facing charges that range from the frivolous to the most serious. Standing at the crossroad s in their young lives, a good defense attorney is of critical importance to these juveniles.
Studies have shown the lifetime consequences of being convicted of a crime as a juvenile. Although the records of most juvenile offenders are supposed to be sealed to the public, criminal histories are still documented. Employment, educational, and housing opportunities may be denied due do a conviction that happened decades previously.
Not every family can afford the services of lawyer, and although the juvenile criminal justice system has been set up to provide an attorney for indigent clients, the reality is that the quality of indigent defense is a major concern. Two well respected juvenile justice organizations are addressing this issue. The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE) and the National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) have put together a comprehensive look at the systematic issues that plague juvenile indigent defense. JJIE and NJJN cover four areas of importance: