Ohio has proven itself to a pretty difficult state for kids over the last year or so. Parents get thrown in jail for trying to put their children into better schools, the governor almost got away with making teachers modern day serfs and next week things could get better or a lot worse.
The Ohio Supreme Court is taking statements from the public regarding the adoption of Juvenile Rule 3, which could fundamentally change the relationship between teens and the justice system in the state. The Ohio ACLU puts it succinctly:
Under current law, children must speak with an adult before they waive their right to counsel. However, the adult may be a parent or guardian who does not understand the legal system. Consequently, children often waive counsel without fully understanding their rights or the potential outcome of proceeding through the juvenile justice system without an attorney.
Juvenile Rule 3, if passed, would require all juveniles to speak with an actual attorney before waiving their right to anything. It doesn’t take a lot of brainpower to figure out exactly who this type of legislation benefits most. Poor and minority children are often thrown in the slammer for the same types of crimes and misdemeanors that kids of means get out of by talking with their Daddy’s lawyer friends from college. Moreover, if the law passes it could also speed up the juvenile justice system since kids would get adequate counsel from jump rather than agreeing to sentences that are unfair – then spending 12 months trying to backtrack through the legal system. If you want to make your voice heard to get this law passed just follow this link. Remember, the final day to contact the state Supreme Court is next TUESDAY the 22nd of November.
This article originally appeared online at Politic365.com.