This article appears in the Denver Post:

The JLS response is below:
“The Juvenile Law Society (JLS) is disappointed in this decision. It represents a regression in the development of the practice of law for children and the rights of children as constitutionally protected citizens. Since representation of children in abuse and neglect cases began its modern development in the 1970s, we have seen a steady growth of the practice away from paternalism and toward integrity and youth empowerment. Children have been the beneficiaries of this progress. Our highest-level scholarship and policy developments are consistent with this. The American Bar Association Standards of Practice for Lawyers Who Represent Children in Abuse and Neglect Cases (ABA Standards), for example, call for a true attorney-child client relationship, which includes the essential component of attorney client confidentiality. This decision is diametrically opposed to the ABA Standards. Rather, substituted judgment, where a lawyer presumes to know what is best for a child, disempowers a child, and is a throwback to a time of an arrogant ideology of “child saving” which views children as things, rather than constitutionally protected citizens. Colorado is out of sync with thoughtful and hard fought federal progress on this issue. There is room for some subtle discernment here, which the majority opinion missed. It is one thing to say that there may be some instance when a lawyer may have to disclose a client confidence. It is quite another to say that a child’s attorney may be forced to disclose conversations with a child client against the client and lawyers wishes. The argument that this is a good decision because it is necessary to protect children from harm is flawed. Our ethics code, Rule 1.14 already does that by allowing a lawyer, in any type of representation, to disclose serious danger to the client. Our hope is that the decision will be distinguished from the facts of future cases and not followed without a more substantive analysis.”

Marvin Ventrell
Executive Director
JLS Juvenile Law Society ®

25 notes

  1. trexhands posted this