Discretionary appointment of 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).
Litigation, Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Accused Parents
In Watson v. Division of Family Services, 813 A. 2d 1101, 1107 (Del. 2002, the Court held that due process under both the Delaware and federal constitutions only require a case-by-case analysis to determine whether to appoint counsel in dependency cases.
The Watson court also identified many general sources of error in dependency/neglect proceedings: (1) from the outset of proceedings, indigent parents are the only parties who do not have appointed legal representation; (2) parents in these proceedings are "often dysfunctional, usually due to ... substance abuse"; (3) indigent parents are particularly ineffective litigants; (4) it is unrealistic to expect these parents to "turn their lives around" and thereby prove that they should regain parental rights "without an attorney to advocate their need for the reunification resources that are available through the [State agency]."
In Hughes v. Div. of Family Services, 836 A.2d 498, 509 (Del. 2003), the court observed that the risk of error in dependency cases was significant, and that such risk "will routinely require the appointment of counsel at State expense for indigent parents in every dependency and neglect proceeding to ensure that an erroneous result does not occur." However, it noted that the new court rules required appointment of counsel in all cases.
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: discretionary Qualified: no