L.A. Supervisors Face Juvenile Justice Issue

A juvenile policy attorney and former public defender has an opinion piece making the rounds that makes a great argument for increasing funding to the Los Angeles juvenile justice system, but for once the issue is up to county officials instead of the wise ones in Sacramento. Carol Chodroff explains how the current attorney appointment scheme relies on a flat-fee contract that seems nearly designed for poor outcomes.
In her piece, which has appeared in both the Huffington Post and CityWatch, she reports that “… Los Angeles has one of the largest juvenile justice systems in the world, processing approximately 20,000 youths annually. About 11,000 of these youths are ineligible for representation by the public defender because of a conflict of interest. They are represented instead by appointed panel attorneys who receive a flat fee of approximately $350 for the life of a case, regardless of its complexity.
The bad news from this is that “… this perverse compensative scheme penalizes panel attorneys for doing the work required to zealously represent youthful clients. The resulting arbitrary and disparate treatment of children in the Los Angeles juvenile delinquency system is destructive, expensive, and unconstitutional.” But she also notes  that the good news is “… next week, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will hear an important motion introduced by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas to examine and recommend improvements to the delinquency representation system. The Board of Supervisors should pass this critical motion.”
You can read her argument in support of the county motion, via CityWatch, here.