Independent Juvenile Defender Program
On July 3, 2018, the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Independent Juvenile Defender Program received a public acknowledgement by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, following a motion by Supervisor Hilda Solis. The matter was heard at the board of supervisors’ public meeting and acknowledged the American Bar Association’s determination that the IJDP was one of three “exemplary defense projects” in the United States.
Assistant Counsel for Public Defense to the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants Malia Brink and Associate Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court Honorable Cheri Beasley were sent by the ABA for a site visit. LACBA hosted a series of meetings and lunches, followed by observations in a Los Angeles County juvenile court and a meeting with judges after.
Each year, thousands of indigent juveniles are charged with crimes in Los Angeles County. Many cannot be represented by the Office of the Public Defender or the Alternate Public Defender because of conflicts of interest. The Independent Juvenile Defender Program (IJDP) provides free legal services to these unrepresented youth.
IJDP is a partnership between the County of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles County Bar Association. Our mandate is to oversee a panel of independent attorneys who represent indigent youth facing criminal charges in juvenile court. Our mission is to ensure that IJDP clients receive the highest quality legal representation in the juvenile delinquency system. We believe that to achieve this, one must not only address criminal charges, but also attend to the “whole child.” To that end, we employ a best practices model designed to provide comprehensive and holistic representation for youth. To support our unique model, our staff attorneys, forensic social worker and investigator provide our attorneys legal, technical and institutional support. In addition to direct case support, our staff also provides ongoing training and education. These tangible structures, built to bolster and propel our mission forward, allow our attorneys to achieve optimal outcomes for the youth they represent.