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Guidelines for Representing Children Facing Life Sentences from the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing

The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth released the first-ever Guidelines for Representing Children Facing Life Sentences:

“We are excited today to release the first-ever guidelines for representing children who face our country’s harshest penalty. Trial Defense Guidelines: Representing a Child Client Facing a Possible Life Sentence was drafted in close collaboration with attorneys and advocates from across the nation.

Children are constitutionally and developmentally different from adults, making the representation of children in adult court facing a life sentence a highly specialized area of legal practice.  However, many court structures and personnel — including prosecutors and judges — fail to account for the characteristics of childhood. The objective of the Guidelines is to set forth a national standard of practice to ensure zealous, constitutionally effective representation consistent with the standards established by the Supreme Court in Miller v. Alabama. The Guidelines draw from the ABA Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases in the capital context and the National Juvenile Defender Center National Juvenile Defense standards in the juvenile court context.”



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