Major developments

 

This page lists all of the most recent developments on civil right to counsel across the country. These could be newly created rights to counsel, significant publications, public events, advocacy efforts, or other things that don't fit into a neat category.

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Legislation: civil forfeiture

04/06/2017

These bills would permit a court to appoint counsel for a third party intervening in a civil forfeiture action.

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Iowa enacts law separating GAL and attorney roles for children in custody cases

04/05/2017

A new law separates the role of guardian ad litem and attorney for children in custody cases.

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Legislation: civil forfeiture

04/05/2017

A pending Delaware bill would eliminate civil forfeiture and require appointment of counsel in criminal forfeiture proceedings.

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Arkansas parents entitled to counsel at emergency child welfare hearing

04/04/2017

A bill passed in 2017 requires parents to be appointed counsel at an emergency ex parte dependency hearing.

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Bipartisan call for legislative right to counsel in civil forfeiture cases continues to grow

03/31/2017

Calls to reform civil forfeiture proceedings have come from all sides of the aisle, with legislation filed at the federal and state level.

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New Utah law guarantees counsel for criminal debt collection

03/23/2017

A 2017 law organizes all collection of criminal debt into contempt proceedings and requires the appointment of counsel.

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Legislation: civil forfeiture

03/21/2017

Several bills would provide a right to counsel for all or certain forfeiture proceedings.

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Legislation: children in dependency cases

03/21/2017

This bill would require appointment of counsel for a child in child protective proceedings who is living with a relative.

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Articles, studies make case for right to counsel in debt cases

03/02/2017

Two new articles in the Harvard Law & Policy Review support the right to counsel in debt cases.

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Legislation (dead): parents in private adoptions

03/01/2017

Two bills would have provided a right to counsel for parents in private adoption cases, codifying a NJ Supreme Court ruling.

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Legislation: timing of appointed counsel for parents

02/21/2017

A bill would specify that parents are entitled to appointed counsel early in the child welfare process.

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Legislation (dead): fines/fees cases

02/21/2017

A series of bills would have required appointment of counsel prior to incarceration for failure to pay fines/fees.

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South Carolina Sup. Ct.: right to counsel in sex offender commitment cases

02/16/2017

The Supreme Court of South Carolina held there is a constitutional right to appointed counsel in sex offender commitment cases.

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Legislation: child counsel in dependency cases

02/13/2017

These bills would require counsel to be appointed for a child two years or older in a dependency proceeding.

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Legislation (dead): civil forfeiture

01/24/2017

A bill would have required the public defender to be appointed in civil forfeiture proceedings.

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Legislation: Boston Mayor Walsh advances housing right to counsel bill

01/23/2017

Boston Mayor Walsh backed a statewide bill that would guarantee counsel for indigent tenants in eviction cases.

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Legislation: minor defendants in DV proceedings

01/23/2017

These bills would require appointment of counsel for minor defendants in protection from abuse proceedings.

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Legislation: civil forfeiture

01/23/2017

This bill would eliminate civil forfeiture and requires appointment of counsel for indigent persons opposing forfeiture.

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Legislation: minor plaintiffs in DV proceedings

01/23/2017

These bills would require appointment of counsel for minor plaintiffs in protection from abuse proceedings.

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Federal agency: all parents/children should be represented in child welfare cases

01/17/2017

DHHS' Administration for Children and Families has issued a memo calling for counsel for all parents/children in child welfare cases.

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Legislation (dead): adult guardianships

01/17/2017

These bills would have provided a right to counsel for prospective adult wards in guardianship proceedings.

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Right to counsel

01/09/2017

The Alaska Supreme Court has held that indigent parents have a state constitutional right to counsel in certain custody proceedings.

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Legislation (dead): termination of parental rights

01/09/2017

This bill would have removed the indigency requirement for a parent to have a right to counsel in termination of parental rights cases.

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Legislation (dead): civil forfeiture

01/04/2017

This bill would have abolished civil forfeiture and provided a right to counsel for criminal forfeiture proceedings.

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Legislation (dead): civil forfeiture

01/03/2017

This bill would have required a criminal conviction prior to forfeiture, and authorized the PD's office to represent an individual.

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Utah high court: some parents have right to counsel in private termination cases

12/08/2016

The Supreme Court of Utah held that parents may be constitutionally entitled to counsel in private termination of rights cases.

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U.S. gets "D" on access to counsel in housing cases

12/05/2016

The latest Human Rights Report Card from NLCHP gives the United States a "D" on access to counsel in housing cases.

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MA Senate Committee, Trial Court reports flag right to counsel issues in fees/fines cases

11/17/2016

Reports from a MA Senate Committee and MA Trial Court Working Group call for a right to counsel in fees/fines cases.

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Housing Not Handcuffs campaign kicks off, features right to counsel

11/15/2016

A new campaign to end the criminalization of homelessness features right to counsel in housing cases as a major policy platform.

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U.S. rank on access to civil justice in Rule of Law Index drops to 94th out of 113 countries

10/27/2016

The 2016 World Justice Project's Rule of Law Index ranked the U.S. 94th in the world on access to civil justice.

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