Juvenile Advocates Highlight Flaws In System



The advocacy website Juvenile Justice Information Exchange has posted a significant report detailing problems with how Los Angeles County provides legal representation for juveniles who cannot afford their own lawyer. 
The report notes that “… the problem is particularly serious in Los Angeles County, one of the world’s largest juvenile justice systems, where a controversial low-bid, flat fee compensation system for attorneys representing certain indigent youth raises systemic due process concerns. Under that system, contract attorneys — such as the one who represented Antonio, are paid an astonishingly low fee of $300 to $350 per case, regardless of whether the case involves shoplifting or murder. This is in a city where private lawyers are costly. Criminal defense attorney fees in Los Angeles can easily exceed $500 an hour.”
One suggestion is that the juvenile system work more like the adult system in Los Angeles where defendants are represented by attorneys from an alternate public defender’s office or by private attorneys paid an hourly rate based on the complexity of the case and seriousness of the offense – not the flat fee.
You can see the report here.