Discretionary appointment of counsel

Key_development Question_mark

Legislation, Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Accused Parents

For dependency cases, the Public Defender Act ("PDA") states that counsel "shall be assigned" in "proceedings arising out of a petition brought in a juvenile court when the court deems the interests of justice require representation of either the child or his parents or guardian or both, including any subsequent proceedings arising from an order therein."  13 V.S.A. § 5232(3). See also 33 V.S.A. § 5306(d)(5) (in notice of temporary care hearing, there must be notice to "an attorney to represent the parent", and "[t]he attorney may be court-appointed in the event the parent is eligible").


Note that V.R.F.P. Rule 2 specifies that “[c]ounsel shall be assigned at the temporary care hearing or prior to the preliminary hearing …” (emphasis added).  While this may be a reference to appointing counsel for all parents, it may simply mean that if counsel is to be assigned, it should be done at those times.  

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no