DC court extends child's right to counsel
While a state may have many statutes, court decisions, or court rules governing appointment of counsel for a particular subject area, a "Key Development" is a statute/decision/rule that prevails over the others (example: a state high court decision finding a categorical right to counsel in guardianships cases takes precedence over a statute saying appointment in guardianship cases is discretionary).
02/06/2020, Litigation, Other subject area
The D.C. Court of Appeals has extended the right to counsel for delinquent children in proceedings outside the delinquency court. The question was whether the statutory right to counsel for children in delinquency proceedings under D.C.’s Criminal Justice Act (CJA) extends to situations where a judge commits the delinquent child to the custody of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) and DYRS then has subsequent administrative proceedings (although the delinquency court retains jurisdiction). In the case, the delinquency judge appointed the child a lawyer for the DYRS proceedings but told the appointed lawyer that she wouldn’t be compensated under the CJA for those DYRS proceedings since the CJA didn’t extend that far. The D.C. Court of Appeals noted that the CJA right to counsel extends to delinquency and “ancillary” proceedings, then held that the DYRS were “ancillary” under the definition of the CJA. The court also rejected the government’s argument that this situation was analogous to postconviction proceedings (where adult prisoners lack a right to counsel), since " An important distinction between the adult and juvenile system developed in furtherance of these goals is that the court maintains jurisdiction over the child’s case for the entirety of their commitment, D.C. Code § 16-2303, to ensure they are 'receiving appropriate services' and are in the appropriate ‘level of placement.'”
Read a press release from Open City Advocates about the ruling.
If "yes", the established right to counsel or discretionary appointment of counsel is limited in some way, including any of: the only authority is a lower/intermediate court decision or a city council, not a high court or state legislature; there has been a subsequent case that has cast doubt; a statute is ambiguous; or the right or discretionary appointment is not for all types of individuals or proceedings within that category.
Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes
The NCCRC signed on to an amicus brief from the National Juvenile Defender Center.