Influencing positive systemic change in youth's legal issues in the juvenile justice, education and child welfare systems within Indiana.
Appointment of Counsel Rule Amendment: Indiana Criminal Procedure Rule 25
1800 N. Meridian Street, Suite 410 Indianapolis, Indiana 46202
Phone: (317) 916-0786 Fax: (317) 916-5369
Both the Constitution and state law require counsel be appointed for Indiana children, but many children never receive counsel. Many children give up their right to be represented by an attorney and other constitutional rights without understanding these rights and without understanding the consequences of a juvenile delinquency case. In Indiana, adjudications for a vast array of behavior from truancy to major criminal felonies can have a lasting, detrimental effect on a young person. See http://www.beforeyouplea.com/in. Some youth who proceed without counsel end up in the "deep end" of the juvenile justice system. Summaries of interviews with several pro se teenagers who were committed to the department of correction may be viewed here: Interviews
A new rule amendment, will guarantee that a person with legal expertise, who has an ethical obligation to provide adequate legal advice, will be appointed to assist the child at the earliest stage of the proceedings. It will also help ensure the young person understands the consequences of waiving their right to counsel if they choose to do so after having been appointed an attorney to advise them.