1st Edition

In Defense of Juveniles Sentenced to Life Legal Representation and Juvenile Criminal Justice

By Stuti Kokkalera Copyright 2022
    78 Pages
    by Routledge

    78 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book examines how attorneys enable a meaningful opportunity for release for individuals sentenced to life as juveniles. The work provides a detailed overview of how legal representation facilitates opportunities for release for juveniles sentenced to life: “juvenile lifers”. It contributes to the broader literature on the importance of legal representation in the criminal legal system by investigating the role of an attorney in the parole process. Drawing on interviews with lawyers and qualitative content analyses of attorney participation in parole recordings from one state, the study illustrates how attorney assistance provides an important due process protection in the highly discretionary context of parole. The analysis of attorney representation is situated in the history of how they became prominent in the criminal legal system, and how their assistance has been viewed as vital in the parole process. Prior criminological and legal research relates the impact a lawyer can have by preparing a juvenile lifer candidate to present a suitable narrative for release, one that relates their diminished criminal culpability and rehabilitative efforts to prepare for life beyond prison.

    The work will be relevant to students, academics, and policy makers, particularly for state parole boards, public defender agencies, and legislatures. While the analysis is based on the experience of one state, the findings are generalizable to other states and countries that similarly conduct parole board hearings for not just their juvenile populations but also adults.


    Table of Abbreviations

    Table of Cases

    Table of Legislation

    Introduction: In Defense of Youth

    1 The Meaning of a Meaningful Opportunity

    The Supreme Court’s View of Juvenile Lifers

    Defining a Meaningful Opportunity

    How Is Parole a Meaningful Opportunity for Release?

    2 The Evolving Right to Legal Representation

    The Constitutional Right to Counsel

    A Juvenile Defendant’s Right to Counsel

    The Right to Counsel in Parole

    3 What about Effective Legal Representation for Juvenile Lifers?

    Defining Attorney Effectiveness

    Attorney Effectiveness in Parole

    4 Study Setting, Data, and Methods

    Study Location

    Data Sources

    Analytical Methodology

    5 Contextualizing the Role of Counsel in Parole

    Protecting Rights

    Preparing for Parole

    Managing Expectations

    Challenging Practices

    6 Conclusion—In Defense of Juvenile Sentenced to Life

    Due Process and Zealous Advocacy

    Creating Meaningful Policies for a Meaningful Opportunity

    A Call to Recognize the Defense of Youth




    Stuti S. Kokkalera is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, College of Criminal Justice, Sam Houston State University, USA.