Right to counsel

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Legislation, Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Accused Parents

Indigent defendant parents have a right to counsel at a preliminary protective hearing to review the taking into temporary custody of a child from the home of the parent or guardian under Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-824(D) and at an initial dependency hearing for a child initiated upon petition by a third party per Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-843(B). 


At a proceeding for permanent guardianship of a child, indigent parents also have the right to counsel upon request if they are not already represented (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-872(E)).


Furthermore, such parents also have a statutory right to counsel for the remainder of the dependency proceedings. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-221(B) states:  "If a parent or guardian is found to be indigent and entitled to counsel, the juvenile court shall appoint an attorney to represent the person or persons unless the person knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily waives counsel."  While the phrase “entitled to counsel” might sound as if the litigant must have a right established elsewhere, the court in Daniel Y. v. Arizona Dep't of Economic Security cited to § 8-221(B) for the proposition that “By statute, Arizona mandates the appointment of counsel for indigent parents involved in severance proceedings.” 77 P.3d 55, 58 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2003).

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no