Robin Shellow Attorney | MILWAUKEE CRIMINAL ATTORNEY | JUVENILE DEFENSE - CAUSES, CONSEQUENCES, AND CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS | MILWAUKEE CRIMINAL LAWYER
The defense of a young offender or juvenile accused poses different problems than those of a mature defendant.
Criminal Defense Attorney, Juvenile defense - causes, consequences, and constitutional rights, Attorney Criminal Defense, Wisconsin Lawyers, Wisconsin Attorney, The Shellow Group
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1.888.SHELLOW • MILWAUKEE, WI • 414.263.4488 • THE SHELLOW GROUP

The Youthful Offender

Juvenile Defense – Causes, Consequences, and Constitutional Rights


The defense of a young offender or juvenile accused poses different problems than those of a mature defendant. Some of the problems are systemic. The juvenile courts evolved from an exclusive concern for the interests of the child to a hybrid concern for the protection of the juvenile’s constitutional rights and a determination of appropriate punishment. It is in the interplay of these sometimes conflicting goals that the juvenile’s defense must be developed. In some respects it mirrors the defense of an adult; in others it is quite different.

For example, the motivation for the commission of a juvenile crime or violation of school regulations must be explored in far greater depth than would be necessary for an adult accused. The motivations of bank robbers, burglars and tax evaders may be unalloyed greed. The motivations of youthful offenders are rarely that simple. The causes of youthful crime usually arise from the cultural environment in which they live, the pressure of peer groups, their reaction to authority; the stress and anxiety of life at home; their experimentation with psychoactive drugs.

A mature offender may have weighed the risks of apprehension and its likely consequences against the gain from the criminal act. The youthful offender will only rarely engage in this calculus. The youthful offender’s understanding of criminal justice will have come from what he learns from his peers and what he sees on television. A youthful offender living in a climate of violence may have no understanding of its consequences to his victim.

The Shellow Group spends endless hours with the youthful offender and endless hours with social workers and psychologists in learning why the juvenile acted as he did and whether psychological tests and evaluation are needed; whether counseling is needed; whether drug use played a role; whether some therapeutic community would help; whether intervention is needed. The Shellow Group follows up the in-court representation with regular contacts, sometimes for years, with the youthful offender and his family to assess whether recidivism is probable.

The Shellow Group must have the complete trust of the youthful offender in order to learn the causes of the errant behavior. The development of this trust may initially conflict with the wishes of the parents who pay their substantial legal fees. The defendant and his parents must recognize that the Shellow Group’s fidelity is to the accused and not to the financier. All will be advised at the outset of the representation that what the accused tells his lawyer is privileged and cannot be disclosed to the parent without their son or daughter’s specific and knowing consent. All are told that, while the Constitution imposes this confidentiality, it is most importantly required for the Shellow Group to learn why the accused acted as he did and how further acts can be prevented.

The Shellow Group represents a child whose entire life and future is at risk. This recognition pervades its representation. The Shellow Group is the only for profit Law firm that has a national reputation for its representation of America’s youngest and most vulnerable offenders. Parents trust their children and young adult off-spring to The Shellow Group in order to do what they cannot-save the lives and futures of those they love and cherish the most. The Shellow Group knows that trust is earned one day at a time. And, that to whom much is given, much is expected.

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