ABOUT THIS BOOK
The role of a juvenile defender is riddled with conflict, and clients are uniquely challenging because of their lack of life experience and their underdeveloped decision-making abilities. In Dilemma of Duties, Anne M. Corbin examines the distinct function of defense counsel in juvenile courts, demonstrating the commonplace presence of role conflict and confusion, even among defenders in jurisdictions that clearly define their role. This study focuses on juvenile defense attorneys in North Carolina, where it is mandated that counselors advocate for their client’s wishes, even if they do not agree it is in the client’s best interest.
In Dilemma of Duties, Corbin outlines patterns of role conflict that defenders experience, details its impact on counselors and clients in the juvenile justice system, and addresses the powerful influence of the juvenile court culture and the lack of resources for defenders. Tasked with guiding these children, counselors frequently must contend with and manage their clients’ general distrust of adults as they attempt to serve as their voices to the court.
Understanding how juvenile defenders define their role and experience role conflict provides valuable insights into our juvenile justice system, especially its role in upholding due process rights. Such knowledge points to the importance of the training and practices of juvenile court functionaries and the efficacy, credibility, and legitimacy of the juvenile justice system itself.