Youths will get legal aid in court under new law

DENVER - Gov. John Hickenlooper signed legislation to guarantee legal representation for juveniles facing charges in Colorado.

The bill Hickenlooper signed Wednesday will require that minors have either a court-appointed attorney or a private lawyer at detention hearings. That's where a judge determines whether a defendant should be released while their case is pending.

The legislation comes in response to data from youth advocates showing that nearly half of juveniles with cases in state courts don't get legal representation.

Supporters of the legislation argue that juveniles sometimes resolve their cases without understanding the long-term consequences of the proceedings.

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