The court search for a new provider began after the Mercury News asked detailed questions about the representation provided by the private firm, Santa Clara Juvenile Defenders. On Feb. 11, the newspaper published an extensive article detailing how parents who faced losing their children following allegations of child abuse or neglect were represented by attorneys with inadequate access to investigators, experts and other resources.No, it wasn't that the attorneys had inadequate access. It was that they refused to contest false charges or appeal bad decisions.
Decisions made in Santa Clara County Juvenile Dependency Court - which now serves 2,500 children - determine whether children separated from their parents due to safety concerns will be raised in foster care or returned home to their families.Serves children? That is a bit like saying San Quentin State Prison serves 5000 inmates. The children are prisoners in the system.
The newspaper series reported that former employees, appellate lawyers and clients described Juvenile Defenders as unwilling or unable to provide aggressive advocacy for parents fighting abuse allegations. The firm also suffers from high turnover and an ongoing reluctance to challenge trial court rulings in the higher courts.Yes, that is what the paper showed.
John Nieman, a supervising attorney with Santa Clara Juvenile Defenders, did not return repeated messages, but he has told other attorneys he would head up a bid for services using the same attorneys now employed by Proctor.So maybe the county will pretend to be doing something by awarding a new contract, but in reality it will be the same lawyers doing the same work.