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).
Litigation, Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Birth Parents
Massachusetts courts have established a constitutional right to counsel for indigent parents contesting a petition filed by the state to dispense with parental consent to adoption. Dept. of Public Welfare v. J.K.B., 379 Mass. 1 (1979). The court established a right to counsel under the procedural due process clause of Art. 10 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.
In granting a right to counsel to indigents in these involuntary adoption cases, the court considered the fact that such a case "may well involve complex questions of fact and law, and require the marshaling and rebutting of sophisticated expert testimony." The presence of counsel, the court determined, would assist litigants in adequately addressing these questions and enable them to present a proper defense to charges of parental unfitness. The court added that "virtually every other court which has faced [the issue of whether to appoint counsel to indigent parents in custody proceedings] has reached the same conclusion." The court also articulated the idea that the "loss of a child may be as onerous a penalty as the deprivation of the parents' freedom," and the "interest of parents in their relationship with their children has been deemed fundamental."
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