Right to counsel

Key_development Question_mark

Legislation, Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Accused Parents

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 620.100(1) states:

 

(1) If the court determines, as a result of a temporary removal hearing, that further proceedings are required, the court shall advise the ... parent or other person exercising custodial control or supervision of their right to appointment of separate counsel:

(b) The court shall appoint separate counsel for the parent who exercises custodial control or supervision if the parent is unable to afford counsel pursuant to KRS Chapter 31. The clerk of the court shall arrange for service on all parties, including the local representative of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, of the order appointing counsel. The parent's counsel shall be provided or paid for by the Finance and Administration Cabinet. The fee to be fixed by the court shall not exceed five hundred dollars ($500); however, if the action has final disposition in the District Court, the fee shall not exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250);'

(c) The court may, in the interest of justice, appoint separate counsel for a nonparent who exercises custodial control or supervision of the child, if the person is unable to afford counsel, pursuant to KRS Chapter 31. The clerk of the court shall arrange for service on all parties, including the local representative of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, of the order appointing counsel. Counsel for the person shall be provided or paid for by the Finance and Administration Cabinet. The fee to be fixed by the court shall not exceed five hundred dollars ($500); however, if the action has final disposition in the District Court, the fee shall not exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250);

 

See also § 610.060(1)(a) ("If the Circuit or District Court determines that a formal proceeding is required in the interest of the child or to determine the truth or falsity of the allegations against the child … the court shall, when the child is brought before the court … Explain to the ... parents, guardian, or person exercising custodial control their respective rights to counsel and, if ... his parents, guardian, or person exercising custodial control are unable to obtain counsel, shall appoint counsel for the child, as provided in subsection (2) of this section, and, unless specified to the contrary by other provisions of KRS Chapters 600 to 645, may appoint counsel for the parents, guardian, or person exercising custodial control"); B.C. v. B.T., 182 S.W.3d 213, 217 (Ky. Ct. App. 2005) (applying § 610.060 to a dependency proceeding); Z.T. v. M.T., 258 S.W.3d 31, 36 (Ky. App. 2008) (same).  Despite § 610.060 seemingly making appointment discretionary for the custodial parents, it appears that the mandatory nature appointment of § 620.100(1)(b) still controls, because the latter is a “provision[] of KRS Chapters 600 to 645” (specifically, Chapter 620) that “specifie[s] to the contrary.”

 

In R.V. v. Commonwealth, Department for Health and Family Services, the Kentucky Court of Appeals interpreted Sections 620.100 and 625.080 to mean that indigent parents are entitled to representation at all "critical" dependency proceedings prior to termination of parental rights "unless it can be shown that such proceeding had no effect on the subsequent circuit court termination case." 242 S.W.3d 669, 672-73 (Ky. Ct. App. 2007). 

Cite: Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. ยงยง 620.100(1)(a)-(b)

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes