Waiver of counsel, 2014

A juvenile's right to waive counsel must be filed through his or her parent or guardian.

  • Restrictions on waivers
  • No restrictions
  • Reflects laws as of the end of 2013 legislative sessions.
  • Age

    No restrictions

  • Crime

    No restrictions

  • Hearing

    No restrictions

  • Placement

    No restrictions

Timing of counsel, 2013

In Massachusetts, an attorney for a juvenile can be appointed at the following points in the process: All Stages of Proceedings / All Critical States of Proceedings.

  • Reflects laws as of the end of 2013 legislative sessions.

Indigency requirements, 2013

Organized at the state level

Organizer: Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Services (Additional detail concerning the organization and administration of juvenile defense is available in a state profile from the National Juvenile Defender Center.)

Indigency is not determined legislatively

Adult Court Rules are the legal authority for indigency in Massachusetts. They provide the determination for indigency and several useful definitions. Special juvenile law education / training / experience/ program for appointed juvenile counsel. Indigency is judicially determined.

  • Reflects laws as of the end of 2013 legislative sessions.

Courtroom shackling, 2015

Restricted by judiciary

Massachusetts Rules of Criminal Procedure (7/1/15) apply to juveniles per Rule 1.  Rule 45 indicates that gagging or shackling may be employed if the trial judge has found such restraint reasonably necessary to maintain order.  If the judge orders restraint/s, reasons must be entered into the record and (if present) the jury must be instructed ‘that such restraint is ‘not to be considered.’

Sex offender registration, 2015


Competency, 2015

In Massachusetts, the legal basis for determining juvenile competency is found in case law, where the state supreme court applied mental health statute, which states that competency procedures apply to [any] subject (including juveniles). Procedures there align with the Dusky standard, but do not have juvenile-specific provisions for examination, etc.

  • No juvenile standard

  • Juvenile standard is the adult standard

  • Juvenile justice standard exists

  • JJ standard includes developmental immaturity

About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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