Do Parents Accompany Children To A Consultation With Their Lawyer?

Interviewer: When you’re speaking to the juvenile offender, do the parents always have to be present or do you sometimes speak to them alone?

Amir Ladan: My preference on office conferences is we always have a combination. I want the parents, or the parent, or whoever is the guardian of the child to come with them. There are always questions that need to be discussed amongst the group.

But then I’ll always have the parents or guardian step out so I that can speak one-on-one with my possible client. This is because it’s the juvenile that’s the client. It’s not the parent or the family.

Full Disclosure Insures a Good Defense

I need to know that the juvenile isn’t hiding information that I need to know about for case. We formulate our defenses and approach things strategically based on the information we have.

And if there’s some little tidbit of information that they haven’t disclosed to mom or dad yet because they’re too embarrassed and I don’t know about it, it can undermine what I’m trying to do. That’s why at some point I need a private conversation with my client.

Interviewer: Do you find that the kids will disclose more to you than their parents?

Amir Ladan: More often than not, they’ve told their parents everything. At that point, the “cat is kind of out of the bag” already. But there are still instances where we end up learning some information that is helpful to the case.

The Attorney Represents the Juvenile, Not the Parents

It’s definitely necessary and it’s my ethical obligation to the client. In fact, one of the first things that I do when I sit down with a juvenile client and their family is I tell them, “It’s great to have you here. We want family support and family guidance, but I want to make sure everybody in the room understands that my ethical obligation is directly to the child. That’s what the bar requires and that’s what I do. It doesn’t matter who’s paying for my services, that the conduct that I’m required to follow.”

Interviewer: Have you had instances where the child divulges additional information about the case and says, “Please don’t tell my family?” Do you have to respect that?

Attorney-Client Privilege

Amir Ladan: Yes, that’s happened. I have to respect it. I’m not going to lose my bar license to disclose something I’ve been asked not to. It’s attorney-client privilege. That being said, in most circumstances, I find the kids end up disclosing things to their family and I’m not really put into that position.

Author: Amir Ladan
A former assistant state attorney for Orange/Osceola Counties, Amir has handled thousands of cases and dozens of trials, ranging from DUI and traffic offenses to murder, in both adult and juvenile court.

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