Can a Juvenile Offender Qualify for a Public Defender?

Interviewer: Are there public defenders for juveniles?

Jack: Yes, there are many special public defenders. There are public defenders that are on a contract to be assigned cases, but I’m the busiest private lawyer in Juvenile court. I’m there two, three times a week. Since I’m a former part-time juvenile prosecutor, I have a strong working knowledge of the juvenile court system.

As an added benefit, the juvenile courts accommodate my schedule and assign all my client’s cases at 2:00, which is more convenient for my clients because they are able to attend school without having to miss a day due to a court appearance at 9:00 a.m. Most other attorney’s juvenile cases are scheduled in the morning.

Is a Public Defender a Viable Option for the Defense of a Juvenile Case?

Interviewer: The public defenders for juveniles are just like for adults and will probably have huge caseloads. However, parents can ensure a better defense for their child’ cases dealing with a private attorney like yourself.

Jack: You want to be a little careful about disparaging them, but with juvenile cases you do get the opportunity with a private lawyer such as myself, an opportunity to sit and talk as often and as long as you’d like, and the caseloads, you’re right, are less. I’m over there on one, two at the most. The public defenders tend to have a substantial caseload, each and every day.

Interviewer: Children don’t really have their own money so is it parent’s financials that determine if they qualify for juvenile public defender?

Jack: Yes.

By Jack O’Donnell

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