Supreme Court of Hawaii ruling strengthens parents’ right to counsel in child welfare cases
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).
03/11/2021, Litigation, Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Accused Parents
In a case that the NCCRC identified and helped assist with an appeal alongside Lawyers for Equal Justice, the ACLU of Hawaii Foundation, and the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, the Supreme Court of Hawaii has ruled that counsel must be appointed in child welfare cases upon filing of the petition and not later, that the failure to timely appoint counsel is reversible error, and that the right to appointed counsel extends to petitions for family supervision and not just where the State is seeking foster custody. In re L.I., 482 P.3d 1079 (Haw. 2021). This case was a followup to a case the NCCRC identified and helped bring in 2014, In re T.M., which established the right to counsel in foster custody child welfare cases but introduced ambiguity as to the timing and did not address family supervision cases. 319 P.3d 338 (Haw. 2014).
The decision was covered by The Imprint.
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: no
The NCCRC identified the case and helped with the appeal and amicus briefing.