I believe there is no more important work than defending kids, especially those accused of serious crimes. The consequences of juvenile crime are increasingly severe, whether kids remain in the juvenile system or are prosecuted as adults. We lock up too many people in this country, many of whom are children. Surely, at the start of the twenty-first century - given our knowledge about the causes of juvenile delinquency and crime - we can do more than put troubled kids in cages. So, why not work with young offenders who are on their way to becoming adult clients, to try and alter that trajectory, to put them on a different path, to keep them from those cages? Why not devote myself to confronting the repressive and racist politics that propel our increasingly punitive juvenile justice system? The answer is not about personality or politics. It's about self- protection. My heart takes enough of a beating representing adults. Kids up the ante. The bleak future for many kids in the juvenile and criminal justice systems - no matter how devoted their lawyers - is heart-breaking. It can be almost unbearable.
6 Nev. L.J. 1127-1136 (2006)
Scholarly Commons Citation
Smith, Abbe, "Defending and Despairing: The Agony of Juvenile Defense" (2006). Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. Paper 214.