Thursday, October 18, 2018

Restricting Juveniles' Visits With Attorneys

juvenile defense
The National Juvenile Defender Center and the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California (ACLU) are two of several organizations taking issue with a blanket order by Judith Clark, presiding judge of Riverside’s Juvenile Court, The Los Angeles Time reports. The Riverside County judge is restricting youth in juvenile delinquency proceedings from engaging in one-on-one discussions with their lawyers at courthouses. Judge Clark argues that the Riverside County Probation Department has “insufficient resources” to provide personnel to supervise face-to-face courthouse visits.

“The purpose of this order … is to ensure that juvenile detainees have meaningful access to the courts while the court maintains the security and safety of all court users,” the order reads.

Blanket Order 30 means that juveniles have to discuss their cases with their attorneys in open court or a courthouse interview room, using phones and separated by a partition, according to the article. Juvenile defense attorneys can try to persuade a judge to grant private meetings.

Restricting Juveniles' Visits

“For now over 50 years the courts have recognized that kids in delinquency proceedings have a right to counsel and to effective assistance of counsel,” said Ian Kysel, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. “The blanket order would prevent kids from meeting with their attorneys in the very context where they need the guidance of counsel the most.”

Rights organizations are not the only entities raising objections over the blanket order; defense attorneys argue that restrictions don’t take language barriers, disabilities, and mental illness into consideration. Mary Ann Scali, executive director of the National Juvenile Defender Center, points out that not many states have similar physical barrier restrictions on attorney/client meetings. Scali says that Judith Clark’s order makes Riverside an “outlier.”

“Effective communication requires contact visitation,” said Scali. “We know that when we are talking with young people it’s important that we have eye contact, that being in their physical presence and space is important in terms of trust. It’s also critically important in terms of confidentiality.” 

County Judge Judith Clark revised and signed Blanket Order 30 on September 28, 2018, The Desert Sun reports. Clark says the order would not limit juvenile's access to an attorney; the revised order specifies that the court "shall accommodate" contact visits on the day of hearings at either the courthouse or the juvenile detention center next door and such contact will require a judge's permission.

Orange County Juvenile Defense Attorney

Juvenile defense attorney, Katie Walsh, ensures that her clients' cases stand apart from the others and works tirelessly to obtain the best possible outcome. Attorney Walsh uses her experience to achieve results for her clients that impact their records the least. Please contact our office for a free consultation.

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