Lawmakers look to increase legal aid to juveniles

DENVER — Juveniles arrested in Colorado would be guaranteed attorneys at detention hearings under legislation crafted by lawmakers and child advocates.

The proposal seeks to address concerns from youth advocates. They say nearly half of juveniles in state courts lack legal representation during criminal proceedings, and that could have long-term consequences.

The bill is expected to be introduced during the legislative session that begins next month.

A legislative committee pitched the proposal after hearing from child advocates and other legal experts.

The proposal would require courts to make sure juveniles have an attorney during detention hearings — the first hearing after being taken into custody. Juveniles would be appointed an attorney if they can’t afford one.



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