Right to counsel

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Legislation, Domestic Violence - Alleged Victim

750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 60/227(d) provides that "[T]he court shall appoint an attorney for the estate of the domestic violence victim" where "guardian, executor, or administrator of the estate has been charged with a violent crime against the domestic violence victim or has had an Order of Protection entered against him or her at the request of or behalf of the domestic violence victim...."

 

Additionally, 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 60/227(e) provides that a minor may waive privilege of communications with DV counselors "except where such parent or guardian has been charged with a violent crime against the minor or has had an Order of Protection entered against him or her on request of or on behalf of the minor or otherwise has any interest adverse to that of the minor with respect to the waiver of the privilege. In that case, the court shall appoint an attorney for the minor child who shall be compensated in accordance with Section 506 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.")

 

Finally, if a protection order petitioner is a "high-risk adult with disabilities for whom a guardian has been appointed," then the court must appoint independent counsel. 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 60/213.3.

 

The legislature enacted the Domestic Relations Legal Funding Act, which allowed judicial districts to set up a fund (generated by court fees) to pay for, among other things, the appointment of counsel for petitioners in protection order cases. See 705 Ill. Comp. Stat. 130/15(a) (West). At least one court has upheld a court order requiring the respondent in a protection order case to reimburse the county for the cost of the appointed counsel fees. Steward ex rel. Schluter v. Schluter, 819 N.E.2d 1, 2 (Ill. App. Ct. 2004). This decision relied upon interpretation of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, which states that a court may "[o]rder respondent to pay petitioner for losses suffered as a direct result of the abuse, neglect, or exploitation."  The court rejected the argument that petitioner suffered no loss since county paid for attorney because "respondent's actions directly caused the petition to be filed in the first place."

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes