Ballot initiative would expand Denver's enacted 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).
10/10/2022, Legislation, Housing - Evictions
UPDATE: ballot initiative to go to voters in November
In November 2022, Denver voters will decide whether to enact a ballot initiative that would expand the city's enacted right to counsel to cover all tenants regardless of income as well as provide a stable long-term funding source.
UPDATE: City ordinance passed by Council
The City Council has passed an ordinance to guarantee counsel to low-income tenants facing eviction. Advocates are still pursuing a ballot initiative that would extend the right to all tenants regardless of income and create a new funding stream.
Advocates in Denver are seeking to pass a ballot initiative establishing a right to counsel for tenants facing eviction. You can learn more on their campaign website, and Westword covered the launch of the campaign.
At the same time, the City Council has introduced an ordinance to provide a similar right, although it would have more limits than the ballot initiative. Westword and Denverrite have more on the ordinance.
A 2018 Denver study found that "In the few instances in which a renter had legal counsel, they usually prevailed in the eviction proceeding. Without representation, the dispossession rate was 43 percent in DHA cases and 68 percent in the sample of private housing cases." It also found that "the Denver Housing Authority filed one eviction over an alleged $4 of unpaid rent, and the median amount in dispute was only a bit higher than $200."
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 has worked with DSA Denver on the ballot initiative language and process.