The state Senate today approved Senate Bill 873, sponsored by Senator Lisa Baker (R-20), which would mandate counsel for juveniles.
“Juvenile justice is serious business, so why would we regard legal representation for juveniles as less necessary that it is for adults,” Baker said. “We cannot prevent corruption merely by saying it will not happen again. Citizens are expecting action – legislative, judicial, administrative – to prevent a repeat of rampant violations of the rights of juveniles.”
Baker introduced the measure within weeks of the kids for cash scandal in Luzerne County coming to light. She said that ensuring constitutional protection and common sense are always present in the process is necessary to restore public trust in juvenile justice.
The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration. If the House does not act prior to the end of the current legislative session, the effort will need to start over in January.
Contact: Jennifer Wilson