January 03, 2008

WA: access to justice for accused kids

Guest editorial by Bob Boruchowitz, in the P-I:

Lawyers for juveniles not automatic

(C)oncerns apply to juvenile cases in which most people assume that lawyers already are appointed. The reality is that in some counties, many children facing criminal charges or truancy contempt of court proceedings have no lawyers...

It's regrettable that many children who have a recognized right to counsel often lose their rights in the same way. According to a state Office of Public Defense report, more than 2,400 juveniles appeared in court without counsel in 2005...