Right to counsel

Litigation, Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Children

In re Jamie TT, 599 N.Y.S.2d 892, 894-95 (App. Div. 1993), the court stated:


[T]he Due Process Clauses of the Federal and State Constitutions . . . mandate that there be some form of legal representation of Jamie's interests in the proceedings on the petition. . . . Her constitutional and statutory rights to be represented by counsel were not satisfied merely by the State's supplying a lawyer's physical presence in the courtroom.


In this case, the child-subject of an abuse proceeding was represented by an attorney during the proceeding, but her attorney did not cross-examine respondent and failed to challenge or offer any evidence to support the child's allegations of abuse. The Court found that the child's rights at stake during the proceedings—which could have restored primary custody to her alleged abuser—were too great to allow her attorney to stand mute.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes