Florida SCT: right to counsel in termination proceedings survived SCOTUS opinion
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).
07/09/2015, Litigation, Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Birth Parents
In In the Interest of D.B. and D.S., 385 So. 2d 83 (Fla. 1980), the Florida Supreme Court found that due process under both the Florida and U.S. Constitutions requires the appointment of counsel where child dependency proceedings result in the permanent loss of parental custody (i.e., are essentially combined with a termination proceeding) or where "the proceedings, because of their nature, may lead to criminal child abuse charges." The court went on to state that
[W]here permanent termination or child abuse charges might result, counsel must be appointed for (1) the natural married or divorced indigent parents of the child, (2) the natural indigent mother of an illegitimate child, and (3) the natural indigent father of an illegitimate child when he legally has recognized or is in fact maintaining the child. We reject, however, any requirement for the mandatory appointment of counsel for the father of an illegitimate child who has not legally acknowledged or in fact supported the child.
Despite the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Lassiter (no right to counsel in termination proceedings), the Florida Supreme Court in 2015 reaffirmed its view that, when termination of parental rights are at stake, state due process always mandates appointment of counsel for the parent. In re J.B., 170 So. 3d 780, 789-790 (Fla. 2015).
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