Fifty years ago the United States Supreme Court said that children have fundamental rights in America’s courtrooms. In the nearly five decades since then, the promise of Gault has not been realized. It is time to fulfill that promise. Justice demands that all children in juvenile court have meaningful access to qualified counsel.
The Gault at 50 Campaign seeks to ensure that every child has an effective attorney in America’s juvenile courts.
Therefore, we believe:
In re Gault was a giant step forward for the rights of children. Yet, due to inconsistent enforcement and lack of awareness, the due process rights of our children in delinquency court are not protected. We’ve come a long way, but we have a long way to go.
juvenile delinquency cases each year
states have no laws saying how young is too young to prosecute a child
states do not restrict shackling of children in juvenile court
states do not allow jury trials in juvenile court
The National Juvenile Defender Center and its allies and partners will be commemorating the Gault decision in the run up to the 50th anniversary. Find an event below.
At the National Juvenile Defender Center, we promote justice for all children by ensuring excellence in juvenile defense. NJDC was founded to guarantee every child facing prosecution in juvenile court is represented by an attorney who is specialized and trained to defend children.