This week, the National Juvenile Defense Center released a new report on how states have protected, or failed to protect, the Sixth Amendment right to legal counsel for children accused of criminal offenses. The report’s key findings include:
- Only 11 states provide every child accused of an offense with a lawyer, regardless of financial status.
- No state guarantees lawyers for every child during interrogation, and only one state requires it under limited circumstances.
- Thirty-six states allow children to be charged fees for a “free” lawyer.
- Forty-three states allow children to waive their right to a lawyer without first consulting with a lawyer.
- Only 11 states provide for meaningful access to a lawyer after sentencing, while every state keeps children under its authority during this time.