Ten Principles for Providing Effective Defense Advocacy at Juvenile Detention Hearings

These principles are developed as a resource to help defenders and other juvenile court professionals understand the elements of effective detention advocacy on behalf of indigent juvenile clients. Defenders can be at a distinct disadvantage at the detention determination, whether it is at the beginning of the case, when indigent defense counsel often has the least information about the child and the charge compared to every other person in the courtroom, or at the end of the case, when the child is postdisposition, and an unspoken but unmistakable presumption to detain creeps into the case discourse. Juvenile indigent defense counsel have a duty “to explore promptly the least restrictive form of release, the alternatives to detention, and the opportunities for detention review, at every stage of the proceedings where such an inquiry would be relevant.” Therefore, it is critically important for juvenile defenders to be as well-prepared as possible when they walk into detention hearings, where counsel’s often seemingly impossible goal is to present a history of the client leading up to the present day, along with an individualized release plan that is responsive to the client’s expressed interests and that bears in mind the needs of the court.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Gault Center Publications, Practice Tool, Resource Library
Tags: Detention, Quality of Representation