Beware Of The State Bearing Gifts (i.e. Services)

“We would like to offer your child and family services.” These “friendly” words from the mouths of those prosecuting your child should be a sign of red flashing lights. The prosecuting authorities, including law enforcement and juvenile probation, will make this offer intending for parents to believe these services will benefit their child. In fact, the prosecution is seeking only to benefit their own position and further prejudice the case against your child.

“Services” as offered by the authorities are thinly veiled traps to incriminate your child and obtain additional evidence to use against him / her. The State designs these services to appear as a benefit to the juvenile and family. The real purpose is to aid the state in prosecuting your child. Stuckle and Associates recommends vigorously opposing any services being offered by the state which will weaken the defense of your child. The services will appear benign on their face. The State will seek to obtain background information about your child including an interview with the probation officer. In addition the State will request your child to submit to psychological evaluations and testing. The examiners used by the State for this purpose are not fair and neutral. Rather they are affiliated with the State and dependent upon the additional income received from conducting these procedures. These examiners realize future appointments (income) will be denied unless their evaluations are of assistance to the State.

The juvenile system justifies it’s erosion of rights of the child under the guise of doing “what is best for the child”. Petitions to adjudicate filed by the District Attorney in Dallas County and Collin County, Texas will routinely request numerous evaluations be court ordered concerning your child. Due to inattention or perhaps apathy from the defense bar, the courts will typically order the evaluations as a matter of course. These invasive evaluations will result in an irrelevant fishing expedition into the child’s personal life. The probe will delve into the child’s experimentation with alcohol and drugs, family violence or abuse in the home, unreported criminal offenses and other invasive questions designed to improve the prosecution’s case. Your child’s responses to these inquiries are not privileged and will be used against him / her in court. The child’s answers will be strictly scrutinized by the probation officer in making future sentencing recommendations.

Stuckle and Associates recognizes these services and evaluations are all offered prior to any adjudication of guilt. Our nation’s constitutional requirements of a person being “ Innocent until proven Guilty” is ignored with the requirement of participation in these evaluations. Stuckle and Associates fights these pre-adjudication invasive probing of our clients as contrary to our constitutional protections. At Stuckle and Associates our clients, whether adults or juveniles are innocent until proven otherwise. Our law firm will not assist the State in its pre-adjudication fishing expeditions to prejudice our clients. Our current juvenile system which applies pre-adjudication punishment is contrary to the constitutional rights of the accused.

In the adult system, once an attorney is retained and the right to remain silent to invoked, communication between the authorities and the accused will end. In the juvenile system children are used as pawns by the authorities to enhance the prosecution’s case. The State will seek to compel evaluations, tests, and services designed to prejudice the child. The State, through these evaluations force juvenile respondents to make statements that are nearly always damaging to their case. Such statements, if not for the court ordered evaluations, are a clear violation of the child’s 5th Amendment right to remain silent. The State disguises its desire to obtain incriminating statements through these court ordered evaluation. The justification is hidden on its face through the feigned slogans of “best interests of the children”. The end result is that the State gains the power to bully your child into making statements that will later be used against him.

Stuckle and Associates do not allow the system to use our clients to provide evidence against themselves. The United States Supreme Court held in the landmark decision of In re Gault that juveniles should be afforded the same due process rights as adults1. Stuckle and Associates recognizes the constitutional rights of your child are paramount, and those rights will not be waived because the State claims they are “just trying to help the child.” Court ordered services to any juvenile accused of a crime is not helpful to our client’s defense. Rather, legal assistance requires zealous representation and dedication ensuring your child’s rights are not being violated. Stuckle and Associates provides this zealous representation to your child in this time of need.

1. 387 U.S. 1, 87 S. Ct. 1428, 18 L. Ed. 2d 527 (1967)