CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, December 8, 2023

Lanier on Plea problems and Diversion Dilemmas

Jackson Lanier has posted Plea Problems and Diversion Dilemmas: Protecting Juvenile Rights Through Pragmatic Means on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This paper examines issues surrounding plea bargains and diversion programs in the juvenile justice system, focusing on the need to safeguard juveniles' constitutional rights. Drawing on case studies like A.S. v. State and In Re S.W.N., it highlights how failures to ensure juveniles' decisions are voluntary, knowing, and intelligent can jeopardize rights to counsel and against self-incrimination. The paper argues that participation in diversion programs, which often mandate admissions of guilt, should be treated similarly to plea bargains. It cautions against automatically providing counsel, instead advocating for a pragmatic, sliding scale approach adapted to juveniles' capacities and offenses. Key factors include considering juveniles' backgrounds, risk levels, and potential deprivations of liberty. This balances protecting rights with court efficiency and resources. The paper contributes to discussions on reforming juvenile justice to uphold justice and constitutional protections through practical means.

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