The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

April 5, 2012

Ohio justices debate legal consult for juveniles

COLUMBUS —  The Ohio Supreme Court is expected to decide soon whether to require juvenile offenders facing the possibility of detention to consult with an attorney before deciding to waive their right to a lawyer.

Current court rules don’t require such a meeting, and the proposal is pitting youth advocates against some judges who say the requirement hinders the rights of parents and juveniles to make the decision themselves.

The push for the change is almost a decade old, dating to a 2003 American Bar Association report that found many poor children in the state routinely waived their right to an attorney. Three years later, an analysis of 2004 state data found that two in every three children facing a juvenile charge did so without an attorney.

“There’s a culture in a lot of counties that doesn’t really utilize public defenders or appointed counsel,” said Kim Tandy, executive director of the Children’s Law Center in Covington, Ky.

The proposal would make the consultation mandatory for all situations where a juvenile might face detention, even for something as minor as petty theft. An alternative, to make the consultation mandatory only for the most serious charges, doesn’t go far enough, Tandy said.

Juvenile judges in more than 60 counties have expressed their concern about the proposal, most voicing similar concerns about cost, court resources and the interference with parental authority.

Lake County Juvenile Court in Painesville has only two juvenile public defenders in a system that handles more than 3,000 juvenile cases a year, Christopher Simon, the court’s administration director, told the Supreme Court in a Feb. 27 letter.

“The time it would take for a Public Defender to have this discussion with the thousands of cases each year would certainly slow the court process,” he wrote.

Geauga County Juvenile Judge Timothy Grendell has gathered petitions from many judges as he challenges the proposal, which he says amounts to an unfunded mandate on counties already stretched thin.

“Juvenile judges are in the best position to explain the right to counsel to a juvenile and parents and to determine if and when legal counsel is appropriate for a juvenile based on the facts and circumstances of the case,” according to the petition Grendell has helped circulate.

Retired minister Ronald Payne supports the proposal, saying he’s convinced his teenage son avoided serious penalties as a high school student in the 1980s near Toledo when a rock he threw over an overpass as part of a game with friends accidentally hit a tractor-trailer.

A family friend offered his law firm’s help, and the boys got off with a severe reprimand from a juvenile magistrate and the cost of the damage to the truck, Payne said Wednesday.

“I don’t mean to say they weren’t responsible — they should have known better — but it was a stupid thing to do, not a malicious thing, and an attorney helped a magistrate see that,” said Payne.

The requirement is supported by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Ohio Public Defender’s Office. It is opposed by judicial groups and the County Commissioners Association of Ohio.

Eight states require consultation with an attorney before waiving legal rights under certain circumstances, including Alaska, Florida and Maryland, and several others prohibit waiving the right to a lawyer in some form, according to the National Juvenile Defender Center.

———

Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached at http://twitter.com/awhcolumbus.

1
Text Only
World, nation, state
  • Poll finds Clinton trouncing entire GOP field

    Hillary Clinton isn’t only the strong front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, but she’s well ahead of every potential Republican rival, according to a new McClatchy-Marist Poll.
     

    April 16, 2014

  • Ukraine bares teeth against eastern uprising

    In the first Ukrainian military action against a pro-Russian uprising in the east, government forces repelled an attack Tuesday by about 30 gunmen at an airport, beginning what the president called an “anti-terrorist operation” to try to restore authority over the restive region.
     

    April 16, 2014

  • U.N. Security Council sees grim images of Syrian dead

    The U.N. Security Council fell silent Tuesday after ambassadors viewed a series of ghastly photographs of dead Syrian civil war victims, France’s ambassador said. The pictures showed people who were emaciated, with their bones protruding, and some bearing the marks of strangulation and repeated beatings, and eyes having been gouged out.

    April 16, 2014

  • U.S.: Russia causing Ukraine unrest

    The White House on Monday said there was “overwhelming evidence” that Russia is fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine, but suggested that President Barack Obama has not yet concluded that Vladimir Putin’s actions warrant broader sanctions on key Russian economic sectors.

    April 15, 2014

  • Woman arrested after dead babies found

    A Utah woman accused of killing seven babies she gave birth to over 10 years was arrested Sunday after police discovered the tiny bodies stuffed in separate cardboard boxes in the garage of her former home.

    April 14, 2014

  • Rome man killed in crash

    The Ohio State Highway Patrol Chardon Post is investigating a fatal crash that took place just after midnight Sunday.

    April 14, 2014

  • 3 dead in shootings at Kansas facilities

    Three people died Sunday when a gunman opened fire outside the Jewish Community Center and a senior living facility in Johnson County, Kan.

    April 14, 2014

  • High fees eroding many 401(k) accounts

    It’s the silent enemy in our retirement accounts: High fees.
    And now a new study finds that the typical 401(k) fees — adding up to a modest-sounding 1 percent a year — would erase $70,000 from an average worker’s account over a four-decade career compared with lower-cost options. To compensate for the higher fees, someone would have to work an extra three years before retiring.

    April 14, 2014

  • Abortion in cases of rape: New rifts in old debate

    Poll after poll over many years has shown that Americans overwhelmingly support legal access to abortion for women impregnated by rape. Yet the issue remains divisive, as demonstrated by two current rifts — one involving U.S. aid policy overseas, the other highlighting strategy differences within the U.S. anti-abortion movement.

    April 13, 2014

  • Ohio geologists link small quakes to fracking

    Geologists in Ohio have for the first time linked earthquakes in a geologic formation deep under the Appalachians to hydraulic fracturing, leading the state to issue new permit conditions Friday in certain areas that are among the nation’s strictest.

    April 12, 2014

House Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video