A Call to Expand Post-Disposition Representation of Youth in the Juvenile Legal System

In 2020, after the District of Columbia Court of Appeals released its decision in In re N.H.M., expanding DC youths’ access to post-disposition counsel, Open City Advocates, which represented N.H.M., contacted the Gault Center to explore how to support the expansion of post-disposition representation in other jurisdictions. We reviewed analyses of post-disposition representation of youth, surveys of state laws, and relevant court decisions; talked with youth defenders who provide post-disposition representation; conducted virtual site visits of offices that focus on providing holistic post-disposition defense; and heard numerous stories of young people whose success in moving past their juvenile court involvement was catalyzed by post-disposition youth defense teams. Every legal analysis, court decision, conversation with a youth defender, and story from a young person supported the same conclusion: young people who are incarcerated or otherwise under government supervision after juvenile court involvement must be represented by a specialized youth defender – and ideally a holistic youth defense team – until they are free from state control.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Gault Center Publications, Policy Tool, Resource Library
Tags: Access to Counsel, Post-Disposition, Right to Counsel