Justice Cut Short: An Assessment of Access to Counsel and Quality of Representation in Delinquency Proceedings in Ohio (2003)

In 2002, the Central Juvenile Defender Center, through the Children’s Law Center, Inc. in Covington, Kentucky, in conjunction with the ABA National Juvenile Defender Center and the Juvenile Justice Coalition, Inc. embarked upon a statewide study of Ohio’s indigent juvenile defense system. The study included extensive surveying of judges, magistrates and defense attorneys, and detention center superintendents, and interviews with hundreds of youth incarcerated throughout Ohio in the adult prison system, Ohio Department of Youth Service facilities, and community corrections facilities. Even more importantly, the methodology utilized a team of highly trained and experienced attorneys recommended by the ABA Juvenile Justice Center to conduct site visits to juvenile courts throughout Ohio to observe proceedings, interview key participants and provide demonstrative and anecdotal data for the report.

The study, which utilizes the ABA protocol for assessing indigent juvenile defense services, was designed to assess three major areas: 1) whether indigent youth have access to counsel in Ohio juvenile courts, 2) the quality of representation being provided to youth throughout Ohio, and 3) structural and other systemic barriers that impact upon access and quality, including a number of substantive issues faced by juvenile courts in this state. The findings and recommendations of the study, as attached in draft form to this report, are compelling and indicative of a system plagued with poor policies and practices, lack of funding, and perhaps most important, lack of any real leadership to effect positive reforms on behalf of poor children and youth in our courts.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Assessment, Gault Center Publications, Resource Library
Tags: Access to Counsel, Quality of Representation, Youth Defense Systems