Discretionary appointment of counsel

Legislation, Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Accused Parents

Wis. Stat. Ann. § 48.23(3) used to expressly prohibit the use of judicial discretion to appoint counsel for any parties other than children in a “child in need of protection or services” (“CHIPS”) proceeding under § 48.13, but in Joni B. v. State, 549 N.W.2d 411, 413-15 (Wis. 1996), the Wisconsin Supreme Court found this prohibition violative of both the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution and Wisconsin’s separation of powers doctrine.  Joni B. is discussed in more detail later in this memo. 

 

Now § 48.23(3) states that “At any time, upon request or on its own motion, the court may appoint counsel for the child or any party, unless the child or the party has or wishes to retain counsel of his or her own choosing.”  So this provides for discretionary appointment of counsel for parents in CHIPS proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no