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New rules agree to for juvenile detention hearings

Published: Monday, May 19, 2014 12:01 p.m. CDT

CHICAGO — Illinois officials have agreed to implement new rules to ensure the due-process rights of juveniles in the wake of a 2012 lawsuit claiming hundreds of children are illegally detained each year.

That's according to recent filings in a civil suit accusing Illinois of using what amounts to "kangaroo courts" to revoke juveniles' parole. The suit alleged juveniles rarely have access to lawyers and typically don't understand their rights.

In a statement Monday, lead plaintiff attorney Alexa Van Brunt calls the deal a "sea-change in the parole process."

The proposed rules include the automatic appointment of counsel for juveniles under 18 and prompt explanations of their rights.

Messages left for the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice weren't immediately returned Monday.

A federal judge in Chicago still must approve the agreement.

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