Training the Lawyers in Juvenile Court

It is interesting to look at the amount of legal training and support offered to different juvenile court participants.  In many juvenile delinquency cases, there are three attorneys in the room — a judge, a prosecutor, and a defense attorney.

Every June, juvenile court judges, magistrates, commissioners, and referees meet for the Annual Meeting of Juvenile Court Judicial Officers, a two-day seminar sponsored by the Indiana Judicial Center (IJC).  The IJC also has a devoted staff attorney to answer questions from the juvenile court judicial officers.  Groups of judges participate in the Juvenile Benchbook Committee, which generates the reference book and forms used by the judicial officers across the state, the Juvenile Justice Improvement Committee, and the Indiana Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

Every October, the Indiana Public Defender Council (IPDC) sponsors a six-hour continuing legal education seminar on juvenile delinquency law that is open to defense attorneys from across the state.  For the past two years at the IPDC Annual Update in June, there was a brief update of the legislative and case law developments in juvenile delinquency law.  Throughout the year, public defenders have access to a very active general topic email listserve and a juvenile law listserve, that draw on a wealth of knowledge from fellow practitioners.  IPDC has three reference attorneys available to answer questions and a number of training manuals, including a training manual for juvenile delinquency law.

There is no evidence of a similar focus by the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council.  The  annual winter conference spans four days in December.  The 2013 agenda contains very little that pertains to juvenile delinquency law, and there are no presentations specifically devoted to juvenile law or research, and this has been true of past agendas.  The IPAC organization chart does not reference anyone who is devoted to juvenile delinquency law. There is no statewide email listserve maintained by IPAC for their attorneys.  It is unknown whether there is a juvenile delinquency training manual.

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