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Enforcement of the Right to Counsel

The Justice Department is using its enforcement authority to prompt defense system reform. Pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 USC § 14141, the Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section works to remedy constitutional violations within state and local juvenile justice systems.  In a 2012 DOJ Findings report, the first of its kind concerning constitutional violations in a juvenile justice system, the Department urged that “[v]igorous advocacy by defense counsel ensures that the youth’s voice is heard in the process and a fair, just, and appropriate result is achieved.”  The Office for Access to Justice supports the enforcement work of the Civil Rights Division in all matters relating to the right to counsel.  

Updated October 24, 2018