Tuesday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

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Juveniles Not Entitled to Legal, Parental Counsel Prior to Police Investigations Ohio Supreme Court Rules, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

Last week, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the state’s laws do not entitle juveniles the right to an attorney during interrogations that occur before charges are formally filed, or prior to an initial appearance in Ohio’s juvenile courts.

The decision stems from a case involving a juvenile, caught driving without a valid license, when he was initially stopped by a Cleveland-area police officer.  Later, the teen signed a Miranda Rights waiver and a statement admitting he was involved in a robbery.  The teen’s defense team said that his statement should not have been admitted into evidence, as police did not provide him with a lawyer.

A portion of Ohio state law requires minors in delinquency cases to have legal counsel “at all stages of proceedings.” Ohio’s high court, in a 4-3 ruling, determined that “proceedings” does not entail investigator actions.

Florida’s New Child Abuse Reporting Law Among Nation’s Toughest, Orlando Sentinel

Florida’s new child-abuse-reporting law, passed in the wake of the Penn State scandal, is being called the nation’s toughest, and its penalties could have wide-ranging consequences for both universities and ordinary citizens.

Colleges and universities that “knowingly and willfully” fail to report suspected child abuse, abandonment or neglect — or prevent another person from doing so — now face fines of up to $1 million for each incident. And individuals who fail to report abuse and neglect face felony prosecution and fines up to $5,000.

While previous laws have required reporting only when the suspected abuser was a parent or caretaker, the new statute — which took effect Oct. 1 — applies to any abuser, even those who are children themselves.

Safe Start Center Provides Best Practices for Working with Young Victims of Trauma, Youth Today

The Safe Start Center recently released a publication that outlines the best practices for youth service providers working with children that have experienced victimization or severe trauma.

Victimization and Trauma Experienced by Children and Youth: Implications for Legal Advocates” addresses numerous topics, including the best available assessments and treatments for trauma-related stress in young people. The brief, the seventh entry in “Moving from Evidence to Action: The Safe Start Center Series on Children Exposed to Violence,” contains suggestions for experts in both the juvenile justice field as well as the field of child welfare, providing attorneys and court-appointed advocates with specialized information about trauma-informed practices.

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