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Juvenile Division 

Juvenile Image

Vision Statement

The Ohio Public Defender Juvenile Division is a leader in effective advocacy for juveniles in Ohio’s justice system. The Juvenile Division is a team of talented professionals focused primarily on post-disposition advocacy and ensuring that the constitutional rights of children are fully realized and protected. We steadily work toward a holistic approach to helping youth in the justice system and believe that the value of our advocacy extends beyond a juvenile’s duration of confinement. The Division strives to remain at the forefront of the struggle for systemic improvement in juvenile justice through statewide and national collaboration and involvement in policy, education, professional development, and reform initiatives. Our commitment to these efforts protects juveniles' right to be represented by counsel, raises the quality of representation, and promotes the just and humane treatment of juveniles in the legal system.

About the Juvenile Division

The Juvenile Division provides access to the courts for children who have been committed to the Ohio Department of Youth Services (ODYS). Juvenile Division attorneys provide legal assistance and representation that begins with a legal orientation during the intake process. Attorneys may then represent children by gathering legal information; correcting sentence errors; filing detention credit and judicial release motions; on appeal and post-conviction matters in state and federal court; during sex offender registration hearings that may include classification, review, or declassification; and when a child’s case is remanded for new trial proceedings.

Juvenile Division attorneys provide assistance to children in ODYS on conditions of confinement matters, which includes responding to requests for assistance, reviewing fact investigations, determining whether the child’s conditions of confinement claim has merit, and referring the child to a private attorney for direct representation on their claim. If no private attorney accepts the case within a reasonable time, the attorney will prepare pro se pleadings, including a complaint, a motion for appointment of counsel, and other applicable pleadings. Attorneys also advocate for children during discipline and release reviews to the ODYS Release Authority, which impacts the child’s length of stay and release date.

The Juvenile Division also provides legal assistance for children who have been bound over to be tried as an adult, and convicted and sentenced to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. This representation includes a legal orientation during the intake process, and may include jail time credit, judicial release, appeal, or post-conviction.

In addition to direct representation, the Juvenile Division coordinates with and provides training to defense attorneys who handle juvenile work around the state, and provides systemic and legislative advocacy on right to counsel, quality of defense representation, and other substantive issues involving children in the criminal and juvenile justice systems.

Juvenile Division Attorneys
Jill Beeler Chief Counsel, Juvenile Division
Amanda Powell Appellate Section Supervisor
Laura Austen Assistant State Public Defender
Charlyn Bohland Assistant State Public Defender
Brooke Burns Assistant State Public Defender
Katherine Lazarow Assistant State Public Defender
Matthew Trent Assistant State Public Defender
Sheryl Trzaska Assistant State Public Defender
Support Staff
Lisa Caldwell Legal Secretary
Heather Pugh Administrative Assistant

Juvenile Resources

Ending Indiscriminate Shackling
Guiding Principles for Education in Juvenile Facilities
Indiscriminate Shackling as Described by the National Catholic Reporter
Attorney General Eric Holder Educated on Juvenile Shackling
S.B. 143 Summary for Juvenile Practitioners
Applying In re D.M., Juv.R. 24 and Bindover
Safe Harbor Information for Defenders
Video US: Teens in Solitary Confinement
Video Highlights Need for Reform of Ohio's Juvenile Justice System

Video Litigation and Advocacy: Keys to Creating an Effective Post-Disposition System in Ohio

Sealing and Expunging Juvenile
Court Records
Juvenile Sex Offender Registration and Notification Law
Juvenile Sex Offender Registration FAQ

Protecting a Juvenile's Right to be Represented by Counsel

Standards of Representation of Clients
in Juvenile Delinquency Cases

Juvenile Rights in the Criminal Justice

Credit for Detention Time

Suspension of Juveniles' Future Right to Obtain a Driver's License 



Juvenile Cases Pending on the Merits in the Supreme Court if Ohio

Juvenile Cases Recently Decided in the Supreme Court of Ohio

Juvenile Sample Motions

Juvenile Internet Links

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Juvenile News

Stop Solitary in Ohio

Stop Solitary for Ohio's Youth is committed to eliminating the harmful practice of secluding youth in adult jails and prisons, state youth correctional facilities, local juvenile detention centers, and residential treatment facilities.

October: National Youth Justice Awareness Month

This month is not only a time to raise awareness but also a time to build collective action, to strengthen relationships with other advocates, and to join local advocacy campaigns working to create policy changes.

ACLU seeks end to shackling juveniles

(The Columbus Dispatch © 3/10/2014)

(Subscription may be required for article access)

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio today asked the Ohio Supreme Court to prohibit juvenile courts from shackling children during court appearances without first conducting hearings.

OP-ED: Imagining a Real Journey Through Detention For No Crime

(Juvenile Justice Information Exchange © 2/24/2014)

Imagine you’re a parent of a 15-year-old girl. You held her in your arms, taught her to walk, kissed her “boo-boos,” read her fairy tales. Then suddenly, without warning, she becomes defiant.

Court eases youth-prison oversight

(The Columbus Dispatch © 9/19/2013)

(Subscription may be required for article access)

A federal judge yesterday ended most of his court-ordered monitoring of Ohio’s youth-prison system while ruling that oversight of mental-health services and units for students with behavioral issues must continue.

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“[N]either the Fourteenth Amendment nor the Bill of Rights is for adults alone.”

“Under our Constitution, the condition
of being a boy does not justify a
kangaroo court.”

“Unless appropriate due process of law is followed, even the juvenile who has violated the law may not feel that he is being fairly treated and may therefore resist the rehabilitative efforts
of court personnel.”

In re Gault (1967), 387 U.S. 1 

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