Constitutional Law – Right to Counsel in Juvenile Court

In April 1953 petitioner was found to have violated a law by the juvenile court. Being under the age of eighteen, he was committed to the National Training School for Boys of the District 0£ Columbia. He was paroled about a year later but was re-arrested in March 1955 for violation of his parole and brought before the United States Parole Board. Before the parole board could take action he petitioned the federal district court for a writ of habeas corpus on the ground that the action of the juvenile court in 1953 had been unconstitutional in that petitioner had not been advised of his right to counsel, a right guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment. Held, writ granted. Even though the juvenile court is not a criminal court, when a child commits an act which if committed by an adult would be a crime, then due process and the Sixth Amendment require that the child be advised of his right to counsel. In re Poff, (D.C. D.C. 1955) 135 F. Supp. 224.