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Kids, Counsel and Costs: An Empirical Study of Indigent Defense Services in the Los Angeles Juvenile Delinquency Courts

Criminal Law Bulletin (Forthcoming)

Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2013-9

34 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2013  

Cyn Yamashiro

Loyola Law School Los Angeles

Tarek Azzam

Claremont Colleges - Claremont Graduate University

Igor Himmelfarb

University of California, Santa Barbara

Date Written: February 21, 2013

Abstract

In the landmark case In re Gault, the Supreme Court guaranteed juveniles virtually all of the criminal due process rights previously granted to adults. Arguably the most vital of those rights is the right to competent counsel. Scholars have studied how systems provide legal counsel and have questioned the use of certain models to provide defense services. Los Angeles County utilizes two distinct models for the provision of defense services: a contract-panel attorney model and a public defender office. This study looks at data from over 2,800 juvenile court case files from the Los Angeles juvenile courts and asks the following questions: Do public defenders and contract-panel attorneys behave differently? If so, does their behavior make a difference? Our analysis shows that contract panel attorneys are less active, and that youth represented by contract panel attorneys are convicted of more serious offenses and are subject to more severe dispositions. Finally, noting differences in both attorney behavior and outcomes, we explore some of the potential causes and implications of our findings.

Suggested Citation

Yamashiro, Cyn and Azzam, Tarek and Himmelfarb, Igor, Kids, Counsel and Costs: An Empirical Study of Indigent Defense Services in the Los Angeles Juvenile Delinquency Courts (February 21, 2013). Criminal Law Bulletin (Forthcoming); Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2013-9. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2222376

Cyn Yamashiro (Contact Author)

Loyola Law School Los Angeles ( email )

919 Albany Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015-1211
United States

Tarek Azzam

Claremont Colleges - Claremont Graduate University

150 E. Tenth Street
Claremont, CA 91711
United States

Igor Himmelfarb

University of California, Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

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