Advocates Want SUPCO To Allow Kids Charged To Speak With Attorney Before Waiving Right To Counsel
A group of juvenile justices advocates is asking the Ohio Supreme Court to require kids charged with certain crimes speak with an attorney before they're asked if they wish to waive representation. Court rules currently require children facing the delinquency equivalent of a felony be required to at least consult with an attorney before waiving that right. The group wants the court to expand the requirement to children facing lesser charges, such as shoplifting or truancy. The court has declined comment. More from Ohio Public Radio's Andy Chow.
Mike Brickner with the ACLU of Ohio says there are cases when a parent, guardian or even judge might think the best thing would be to pass on having an attorney to speed up the process.
Brickner: “I think that there are a lot of well-meaning judges out there who want to do that who care about those young people but I think it’s incredibly important to have their own independent advocates.”
Young people facing felony charges are already required to speak to an attorney before they decide whether they want to waive counsel.The ACLU, Children’s Law Center and Office of the Ohio Public Defender wants that extended for any criminal charges.