California Governor Jerry Brown has signed AB 703 (Bloom) by Governor Brown, recognizing the important role of juvenile defenders and clarifying their ethical duties. It makes clear that defenders are to represent the minor’s expressed interests, honor the duty of confidentiality with the client, maintain meaningful contact with the client, consult with social workers and other experts as appropriate, and meet minimum standards of training or experience, to be established in a new rule of court by July 1, 2016.
The legislation was developed after Pacific Juvenile Defender Center surveys learned that half of appointed counsel in California delinquency cases begin their representation of children with no juvenile specific training, and after years of confusion in the defender community about the ethical duties of counsel. The training requirements to be developed by the California Judicial Council will assure that attorneys handling delinquency matters in California have training on juvenile delinquency law and procedure, child and adolescent development, special education, competence and mental health issues, counsel’s ethical duties, advocacy in the postdispositional phase, appellate issues, direct and collateral consequences of court involvement for a minor, and securing effective rehabilitative resources. The legislation was co-sponsored by the Youth Law Center and East Bay Children’s Law Offices.
The legislation is at