Friday, July 31, 2015

St. Louis County Biased Against Black Juveniles, Justice Department Finds

The Justice Department said Friday that the juvenile justice system in St. Louis County, Mo., treats black youths more harshly than whites and deprives all low-income youths accused of crimes — no matter what race — of their basic constitutional rights.
In a 61-page report describing serious and routine violations of juveniles’ rights, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said youths accused of a crime are given little or no chance to stay out of detention, dispute the charges against them, or have the help of a lawyer. Among the most fundamental problems in the county’s Family Court is that for a county with one million people, there is just one, overwhelmed public defender for juveniles, who handled 394 cases in 2014.

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