This monograph illuminates the connections between juvenile defense policies and the racially disparate impact of the juvenile justice system. The limited data that exist on youth in the juvenile justice system consistently depict disparate contact and outcomes for black youth across the system. The broad rehabilitative goals of the U.S. juvenile justice system, along with the "best interest" legal standard of the child welfare system, muddle the protection of youth due process rights. States differ widely in their policies granting defense counsel, and many policies lack specific language for policies addressing notions such as appointment timing, duration of representation, waiver criteria, and role of counsel.
Using a combination of legal and sociological research methods, this book examines the lack of specificity in the language of juvenile defense policies and connects the dots between this deficiency with the racially disparate impact of the system, contextualizing findings within a broader theoretical constructs of race and law. The author introduces common elements of juvenile defense policies, describes their impact, and makes suggestions for strengthening defense counsel policies. The book concludes with a call to action regarding expanded data-collection practices for juvenile delinquency courts.
This book is essential reading for those engaged in youth and juvenile justice efforts and scholars interested in issues surrounding due process, race, class, social policy, and justice.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The State and "Race-Neutral" Laws
Chapter 2: The State and the "Race-Neutral" Juvenile Justice System
Chapter 3: Due Process, The State, and Juvenile Justice
Chapter 4: Studying Juvenile Defense
Chapter 5: Guardian of Due Process: Defense Counsel
Chapter 6: Qualifying for Appointment of Defense Counsel
Chapter 7: Waiver of Defense Counsel
Chapter 8: Role Confusion: The Distinct Role of Defense Counsel
Chapter 9: Duration of Appointment of Counsel
Chapter 10: Emerging Trends: Juvenile Defense Policies and Disparate Contact
Chapter 11: Racial Disparity in the Juvenile Justice System and Defense Counsel
Chapter 12: Improving Defense Counsel Policy
Chapter 13: Moving Forward
Emily Pelletier is an Assistant Professor at Queensborough Community College, City University of New York. She teaches in the areas of criminal justice, political science, and children and youth studies. Prior to teaching, Emily worked with several non-profit organizations on policy-advocacy for juvenile justice reforms, including the National Juvenile Defender Center. Juvenile justice remains her primary area of research and legislative interest. Emily holds a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from John Jay College/The Graduate Center at the City University of New York, a Juris Doctorate from the University of Maine, a Master’s in Public Policy and Management from the University of Southern Maine, and a Bachelor’s in Comparative Literature and American Studies from Hobart and William Smith Colleges.