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, Custody Disputes - Birth Parents
An Alaska Superior Court held in 2007 that indigent parents have a due process right to counsel in custody cases if their opponent is represented, even if that representation is not state funded, at least where there are allegations that any visitation should be supervised. The court relied on Flores v. Flores, 598 P.2d 893, 895 (Alaska 1979), which had found a right to counsel in custody cases where the opponent is represented by a state-funded agency.
On appeal (where the case caption became OPS v. ACS), the Alaska Supreme Court declined to review the ruling because the appeal focused on who was responsible for payment; no party contested the actual appointment of counsel. Nonetheless, the appeal was heavily briefed. To see the Alaska Supreme Court case documents, check out our comprehensive bibliography section on the case.
Cite: Gordanier v. Jonsson, Case No. 3AN-06-8887 CI (Alaska Super. Ct. August 14, 2007)
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