The Center for Children, Law, & Policy at the University of Houston Law Center hosted a 50th-year anniversary for Gault more than a year ago, celebrating the game changing United Supreme Court case that “affirm[ed] children’s constitutional right to due process.” The Gault case began in Arizona, and the National Juvenile Devender Center (“NJDC”) also celebrated the 50th-year anniversary of Gault – by checking in to gather data on the true outcomes post-Gault in Arizona, with improvements suggested in Arizona Bringing Gault Home.
The results between counties in Arizona were mixed, with some counties providing counsel representation for children, others in Arizona continued to ignore due process by not providing Gault-required services. All assessments completed by the NJDC are available at http://njdc.info/our-work/juvenile-indigent-defense-assessments/, and an article providing additional information can be found here http://njdc.info/our-work/juvenile-indigent-defense-assessments/arizona-assessment/.
The reports in Arizona show children continue to be underserved, and Bringing Gault Home recommends, in part, the following improvements:
- Automatically appointing counsel to all youth,
- Giving youth an opportunity to consult with a lawyer prior to the court considering accepting any waiver of counsel,
- Appointing counsel for all youth prior to their first appearance before a judge and ensuring access to counsel for youth post-disposition,
- Improving the collection and reportability of data,
- Implementing policies and practices to address significant racial disparities, and
- Ensuring youth receive legal representation that is individualized and rooted in adolescent development.
A news story on the release of information from the NJDC may also be found at: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-child-welfare/2018/09/25/study-juvenile-justice-arizona-hurt-uneven-representation-fees/1362562002/.
SAVE THE DATE!!!! November 12th at noon we will be hosting a CLE with a delegation from Swansea, Wales on ways to improve Juvenile Justice services using techniques successful in Wales. Please feel free to message us on the blog for more information!