The Juvenile Defense Attorney: Friend or Foe

Lori Guevara, University of Texas at Arlington

The findings of research examining the influence of defense attorneys in juvenile court are inconsistent. Some studies focusing on juvenile court outcomes find that youth represented by private attorneys are more likely than those represented by public defenders to have their cases dismissed and are less likely to be placed in secure confinement following adjudication. In addition, youth appearing with counsel receive more severe outcomes than those appearing without counsel. This study is an expansion of previous research that examined the influence of defense attorneys on juvenile court outcomes. This study utilizes the "formal rationality", "bounded rationality", "focal concerns", ande "attributional" theories of sentencing to assess the interaction of race and type of legal counsel on juvenile court outcomes.

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Updated 05/20/2006