In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court established the constitutional right to counsel for children in delinquency proceedings. See In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1 (1967). In support of the High Court’s decision, Justice Abe Fortas famously declared, “The condition of being a boy does not justify a kangaroo court.” Id. at 28.
Every year, the Indiana Public Defender Council selects one lawyer who helps to keep juvenile delinquency proceedings from devolving into kangaroo courts. The Gault award recognizes a lawyer who has shown an “outstanding degree of commitment, competency, and professionalism” in advocating for children.
This year, Joel was selected for the prestigious award as a result of his work with the Juvenile Defense Project. Joel’s duties with the project include advising children of their appellate rights and arranging for the appointment of counsel if they wish to appeal, providing research and other support to attorneys all over the state in delinquency matters, and tracking and testifying about proposed legislation that impacts Indiana juvenile justice.
Joel was honored to receive the award and credited the amazing attorneys he works alongside at the Indiana Public Defender Council and its Juvenile Defense Project. He was also very appreciative of the Board of Directors for selecting him.