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).
Legislation, Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Accused Parents
Courts are required by statute to appoint counsel for parents (including certain alleged fathers) in actions by governmental agencies seeking to terminate parental rights (“TPR”) or install a temporary managing conservator of a child. Specifically, Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 107.013(a) provides:
(a) In a suit filed by a governmental entity under Subtitle E in which termination of the parent-child relationship or the appointment of a conservator for a child is requested, the court shall appoint an attorney ad litem to represent the interests of:
(1) an indigent parent of the child who responds in opposition to the termination or appointment;
(2) a parent served by citation by publication;
(3) an alleged father who failed to register with the registry under Chapter 160 and whose identity or location is unknown; and
(4) an alleged father who registered with the paternity registry under Chapter 160, but the petitioner’s attempt to personally serve citation at the address provided to the registry and at any other address for the alleged father known by the petitioner has been unsuccessful.
A new provision, § 107.0141, permits appointment of a temporary attorney ad litem “for a limited period beginning at the time the court issues a temporary restraining order or attachment of the parent's child under Chapter 262 and ending on the court's determination of whether the parent is indigent before commencement of the full adversary hearing.” See also Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 262.102(d), 262.201(a)(1) (requiring notice to parent of right to counsel in when managing conservator sought).
In 2014, a proposal was submitted to the Texas Supreme Court to truncate the parent's right to counsel. The proposal would have changed a Texas court rule such that the parent's counsel would be automatically dismissed 30 days after the dispositional phase. The NCCRC fiiled comments opposing the rule change and organized other advocates to chime in. In October 2015, the Court announced it would reject the proposed rule change.
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