Beyond Scared Straight -Juvenile Justice Reform: Criminal Defense: Client Interviews

Via Scoop.itJuvenile Defendants

Interviewing a Juvenile Defendant A juvenile defendant also presents a series of challenges for the defense lawyer, one of the most important being the potential conflict of interest between the parent and the juvenile defendant. To avoid potential complications, at the start of the initial interview the defense lawyer should make clear that he represents the child and that in the event of a disagreement between the parent and the child, the lawyer must act on behalf of the child, not the parent. The defense lawyer must also consider whether or not the parent should remain in the room for the initial interview. To preserve the attorney-client privilege, the defense lawyer may want to conduct the initial interview of a juvenile defendant without the defendant’s parent present. Yet, other considerations such as the juvenile’s age, mental condition, and stated preference may favor the parent’s presence at the interview, despite the potential compromise of privilege. The defense counsel should be sensitive to the unique needs of the child defendant, who may be even more nervous and anxious at an initial client interview than his adult counterpart. Juvenile defendants may require more follow up questions and additional explanation of the process. The defense lawyer should make sure the juvenile defendant understands everything discussed in the initial client interview and should conclude the interview with an opportunity for the juvenile to ask questions.

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