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Juveniles need to see lawyer too

March 14, 2012
Salem News

Juveniles arrested in Ohio at least ought to be told why it is a good idea for them to talk to an attorney before they waive the right to see one. But under a state rule, that is not required.

All that is mandated, even in cases where minors may be sent to detention centers or youth prisons, is that juveniles in such cases talk with parents or guardians before waiving their rights to a lawyer. That sometimes isn't good enough - especially in situations in which parents or guardians may not understand the benefit of help from an attorney.

State Supreme Court justices are being urged to amend the regulations to provide that juveniles arrested for serious crimes must speak at least once with attorneys before waiving rights to additional assistance.

Some opponents of the proposal argue it would cost counties more money to provide lawyers for indigent juveniles. That's too bad - but it is a cheap price to pay for ensuring that even young people get the full benefit of protections under our system of justice. The change should be made.



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