South Carolina court extends statutory right to counsel to private TPR cases
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).
06/03/2013, Legislation, Termination of Parental Rights (Private) - Birth Parents
In Broom v. Jennifer J., 742 S.E.2d 382 (S.C. 2013), the Supreme Court of South Carolina extended the reach of § 63-7-2560 to termination petitions filed by a private party. The court said:
Here, Mother was denied counsel because the TPR action was a private action rather than one filed by DSS. However, Section 63–7–2560(A) makes no distinction based on the party seeking the termination of parental rights. Rather, it provides that any indigent parent subject to "a termination of parental rights proceeding" must be provided counsel. S.C.Code § 63–7–2560(A). Thus, the denial of counsel was erroneous.
In cases involving relinquishment of parental rights for adoption, § 63-9-320(A)(2) specifies that while consent is not required for mentally incapable parents in certain
circumstances, the court "shall appoint a guardian ad litem for an incompetent parent for whom there has been no prior appointment and shall appoint independent counsel for an incompetent parent who is indigent. However, upon good cause shown, the court may waive the requirement for the appointment of independent counsel for an incompetent and indigent parent."
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: no