OP-ED: New Guidelines for Juvenile Defense Attorneys 1 Step Forward for Young Defendants

Today, the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth issues the first-ever guidelines for defending children facing our country’s most extreme sentence. “Trial Defense Guidelines: Representing a Child Client Facing a Possible Life Sentence” (“Guidelines”) seeks to articulate the standard established by Miller v. Alabama for legal representation of children facing life sentences.

The first juvenile court was created in the United States more than a century ago with the recognition that children are developmentally different from adults and possess a unique capacity to grow and change. Yet today, many children are tried in adult court and are too often treated like adults — by prosecutors, judges and defense attorneys alike.

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By Jeff Howard

March 11, 2015