Juvenile defenders, on this 52nd anniversary of In re Gault,
we salute you.
It’s hard to believe there was a time when youth weren’t guaranteed the right to counsel. And sometimes harder to believe how much is left undone in order to ensure justice for all youth. If you have a free moment, or even if you don’t, reread Gault, 387 U.S. 1 (1967)
, and be inspired. Appreciate the lives you’ve changed by choosing the path of a juvenile defender. Then buck up and ready yourself for the challenges that still await us.
If you’re not a juvenile defender, find one or two and thank them.
Over a decade ago, an assessment of the right to counsel found that too many Illinois juvenile defenders lacked the resources necessary to fully implement the promise of Gault. Here at JDRC, our live trainings have been suspended. But in the spirit of Gault, and in solidarity with Illinois youth and the lawyers who represent them, before long the JDRC will be launching free online, on-demand continuing legal education courses to support you. Take care, and keep fighting the good fight.
To promote excellence in juvenile defense, and fairness for all youth in conflict with the law, through the development of model systems, advocacy, training, and resources.