Juvenile Justice

Legislative Priority: Protect the rights of families


The ACLU of Ohio works to protect the rights of families in schools, the community, and the criminal justice system.

It is widely recognized by professionals and the courts that youth differ from adults. Consequently, the Ohio Supreme Court determined in 2012 that youth facing a loss of liberty must have their right to counsel explained prior to waiving this right. However, the Ohio Supreme Court found in In re M.W. that because police interrogations are not considered part of juvenile criminal proceedings, youth do not have to have this right explained to them before talking with police. In his concurring opinion, Justice Lanzinger suggested that this extension requires a change in policy by the General Assembly.[1]

Ohioans want to make certain justice is served. In order to ensure that there is justice for victims, suspects, and defendants, the ACLU of Ohio recommends legislation that:

  • Includes police interrogations in juvenile criminal proceedings.
  • Ensures youth are explained their right to counsel and the consequences of refusing counsel prior to police interrogations.

[1] In re M.W., 133 Ohio St.3d 309, 2012-Ohio-4538.