Why Juvenile Cases Should Be Tried

When I was a public defender, a major challenge was the client with a lousy case and a good offer on the table who nevertheless insisted on taking his case to trial.  He didn’t trust his lawyer to… Read More

He is 12 Years Old

As soon as I have the signed order in hand, I head to the “at-risk” cell block to make sure my client is released. My client’s mother, waiting in the hallway, is mad at me. She thinks her… Read More

“My Lawyer Told Me Not To Talk To Anyone About This Case”

One of the reasons I accept court appointments in juvenile cases – but not adult cases – is that the juveniles generally listen to you.  Even then, you can’t always take that for granted. It was thus very… Read More

Awareness Campaign for Juvenile Justice Issues in D.C.

One of the cardinal rules in environmental protection is that it is far more expensive to clean up an environmental problem after it has happened than it is to prevent the pollution from happening in the first place. … Read More

A Guilty Plea at D.C. Superior Court

Guest Post by Emma Brush A visit to Arlington was the occasion for this undeserved opportunity of mine to post.  Originally, my Uncle Jamie had a jury trial scheduled. Knowing that I was considering law school, he thought… Read More

Goodbye to Dana Tapper and the PDS Summer Interns

Summer is over, and the Public Defender Service (PDS) interns assigned to the Youth Services Center are gone. Although I never met any of them in person (they were there during the day, and I visit clients evenings… Read More

In Re D.M.: When Can You Dismiss a Juvenile Case for “Social Reasons”?

The problem with using a canon of statutory interpretation to justify a legal opinion is that you can usually find some other canon to arrive at the exact opposite conclusion. For example, to support its recent holding in… Read More

Ramifications of a Juvenile Adjudication in D.C.

One of the questions parents of a juvenile client often ask me is the effect of a juvenile adjudication on their child’s future. The question often comes up in the context of plea negotiations. If, for example, the… Read More

Probation. Drugs. School. Then Home.

I have a little speech I like to give to my juvenile clients. I tell them that, while I will be looking out for their legal interests as their lawyer, what happens to them pending trial or if… Read More

Waiving a Probable Cause Hearing in a Juvenile Case

“Why would ever you want to waive the probable cause hearing?”  This is what I ask the lawyer of one of two co-respondents in a juvenile case. She is brand new at the Public Defender Service, and has… Read More