Smart Justice issue image

J.P. v. Taft

Location: Ohio
Status: Closed (Judgment)
Last Update: March 9, 2006

What's at Stake

Protecting incarcerated juveniles’ access to the courts in Ohio.

Summary

ENSURING ACCESS TO COUNSEL IN OHIO:

> Ohio Juvenile Justice Overview

> A Demographic Profile of Children in the Ohio Juvenile Justice System
>In re Spears: Ensuring Pre-Trial Right to Counsel for Juveniles
>Other Efforts to Ensure Adequate Access to Counsel

J.P. v. Taft was filed in 2004 as a class action on behalf of the nearly 2000 juveniles who are incarcerated in juvenile correctional facilities in Ohio. The complaint alleged that the State failed to provide Ohio juveniles with constitutionally adequate access to the courts.

In March of 2007, the court approved a settlement in this case, which guarantees that:

(1) all juveniles will be notified during their orientation about their right of access to the courts and how to request legal assistance;
(2) all juveniles who request such assistance will be assigned an attorney; and
(3) all juveniles who have non-frivolous cases will receive assistance in filing a civil rights lawsuit.

Under this settlement agreement, Ohio must send detailed compliance reports each month to the ACLU, which helps to ensure that the Defendants are complying with the court order. Based on these reviews and other information, the ACLU filed a contempt action against the State in October 2007, alleging that numerous juveniles continue to be denied access to the courts, in violation of the consent decree.

>>Click here to see the Agreed Supplemental Order

The ACLU is also part of a statewide campaign to educate juveniles about their right to counsel. Read more about the campaign >>

Support our on-going ligitation and work in the courts Donate now