Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tools and Best Practices in Representing Indigent Youth

The National Juvenile Defender Center just finished a presentation on the role of counsel, from the newly released Juvenile Training Immersion Program (JTIP) and companion National Juvenile Defense Standards (Standards), at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Seventh Annual Models for Change Working Conference. This workshop was particularly exciting because it was the first time many juvenile justice stakeholders had the opportunity to see a part of these newly developed tools, which were over three years in the making.

Our audience was very interested in the hypothetical fact-pattern of a juvenile defender representing a 15-year-old boy charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine who admitted he hadn’t been totally “upfront” about the facts. A lively debate ensued about the defender’s ethical obligations, the attorney-client privilege, and confidentiality.

What made this session so unique was our threading the companion standard throughout the JTIP lesson, which in turn provided support for the practice skills learned in the lesson. In addition, the interactive and dynamic components through exercises, the hypothetical scenario, and other training tools were a big hit!

Feedback from practitioners in the audience indicated JTIP will meet its goals of helping defenders fulfill their obligations at every stage of the delinquency system, by providing a substantive overview of juvenile and criminal law and supplementing the development of effective trial advocacy skills.

Following this unveiling, we are excited to make the JTIP training and Standards available to front-line defenders to strengthen the juvenile defense bar and enhance the capacity of juvenile defenders across the country. We are confident the Juvenile Training Immersion Protocols and National Juvenile Defense Standards will enhance juvenile defense practice nationwide.

To inquire about obtaining a copy of either tool, contact NJDC at inquires(at)njdc(dot)info.

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