Plea Bargaining with Juveniles

Erika N. Fountain & Jennifer L. Woolard, How Defense Attorneys Consult With Juvenile Clients About Plea Bargains, 24 Psych. Pub. Pol’y & L. 192 (2017). Suja A. Thomas Criminal cases—or for that matter civil ones—don’t go to trial any longer. For a variety of reasons, in criminal matters, plea bargaining has replaced trials. This has occurred in both juvenile and adult cases. Most juvenile and adult cases differ significantly, however. The justification is the alleged purpose of juvenile courts to rehabilitate youth. This rehabilitation supposedly involves the judge as an understanding, parent-like mentor to the child. Because plea bargaining effectively bypasses this process, the study of plea bargaining’s effect on youth is particularly important. Currently, the special procedures in juvenile court—such as confidentiality—have led to little check on the prosecution of youth. This has resulted in some bad consequences…

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