Alaska expands right to counsel for children
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).
10/17/2022, Court Rule or Initiative, Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Children
Previously, Child in Need of Aid (CINA) Rule 12(3) simply provided that counsel for children must be appointed "when the court determines that the interests of justice require the appointment." The "interests of justice" language has been replaced with reference to a new rule, CINA Rule 12.1, which lists circumstances that trigger mandatory and discretionary appointment.
Under Rule 12.1(1), the court must appoint counsel for children 10 years of age or older if:
(A) The child does not consent to placement in a psychiatric hospital or residential treatment center;
(B) The child does not consent to administration of psychotropic medication;
(C) The child objects to disclosure of psychotherapy information or records under CINA Rule 9(b);
(D) A request for a court order authorizing emergency protective custody has been made under AS 47.10.141(c); or
(E) The child is pregnant or has custody of a minor child.
Under CINA Rule 12.1(2), the court may appoint counsel for children 10 years of age or older if:
(A) The child’s and guardian ad litem’s positions are not aligned on placement, family or sibling contact, permanency goal, case plan, or another important issue in the case;
(B) The child would benefit from a confidential relationship with an attorney; or
(C) The child is not residing in the designated placement.
The court is obligated to inform "the parties" of their right to counsel at the first hearing the party attends. Children are parties to the proceeding. AK R CINA Rule 12(a). The right to counsel may be waived "by any party if the court determines that the party understands the benefits of counsel and knowingly waives those benefits." AK R CINA Rule 12(c).
Cite: AK R CINA Rules 12 and 12.1
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