The tragic failure of the juvenile court system in Luzerne County provided a wake-up call to all judges and lawyers about the extensive damage that can occur when lawyers are not vigilant about conduct and the conduct of others within the legal community. As officers of the court, attorneys owe a special responsibility to protect members of the public, especially children, from those who abuse their authority and contaminate the system of justice.
In establishing a task force to review the recommendations of the Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice, the Pennsylvania Bar Association sought to highlight the importance of this responsibility and the respect for the rule of law among the members of the Pennsylvania legal community.
The task force report sets forth recommendations for actions the PBA can take to support the commission's recommendations and to strengthen the juvenile justice system in Pennsylvania.
The report also reviews the many positive steps that have been taken to improve the quality and fairness of the juvenile justice system over the past two years, and there is more work to be done. The PBA and its members will continue to be at the forefront of efforts to ensure that the juvenile courts throughout the commonwealth are a model of fair, impartial and restorative justice.