Friday News Roundup: August 17, 2018

Friday News Roundup

West Virginia’s House of Delegates votes to impeach all four Supreme Court justices, indigent families must pay for their child’s attorney in most states, Orleans Parish Juvenile Court becomes the first jurisdiction in the South to end the assessment and collection of discretionary juvenile fees, and L.A. County hasn’t had a public defender in two years and just appointed one.  These stories and much more below in the latest Friday News Roundup. 

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Heard but Rarely Seen

IMG_2375My role at the Justice Programs Office (JPO) is to be heard but rarely seen. I am not asked to go to conferences and present on the constitutional right to counsel. I am certainly not going out into the field to provide training and technical assistance to adult and juvenile treatment courts. But you have probably seen my Friday News Roundup or read my social media posts. I liken my role at JPO to a spotlight. I use my writing abilities and communications knowledge to shine a light on the fantastic work that JPO does and on the talented people that work here.

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“… You have the right to an attorney…”

Banner and gavel

 

My colleagues here at the Justice Programs Office (JPO) will cringe when they see this, but I sometimes hear clips from the old TV show “Law & Order” when we talk about the right to counsel. Bear with me, please, but for a long time I thought Miranda warnings and the right to counsel were synonymous. And though I now know that not to be true, when we have these conversations I still can’t help but hear the echo of so many detectives in so many episodes saying, “You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.” Law & Order was my grandmother’s favorite show—she loved Lennie Briscoe—and I spent a lot of time watching it with her as a teenager. One of the consequences of hearing law enforcement officers on TV tell every person they arrest that they have the right to an attorney and that one will be provided if need be is that I—and, I suspect, many others—think that’s how the American justice system works. Every person accused of a crime has access to defense counsel.

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