REGARDING CONSTITUTIONALLY-PROTECTED RIGHTS TO APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL FOR INDIGENT PARENTS
IN FAMILY LAW MATTERS: (From the Indiana Civil Rights Council at: http://www.indianacrc.org/mythsandarguments.html
Again, every aspect of this nationwide initiative has been carefully conceived and planned for years...
The following is just a quick way of providing a glimpse into the plan.
(FROM AN EMAIL, WITH NAMES REDACTED TO PROTECT THE PARTIES' IDENTITIES...)
M. L. B. v. S. L. J., individually and as next friend of the minor children, S. L.
519 U.S. 102 (1996)
the USSC said:
"(b) This Court has also recognized a narrow category of civil cases in which the State must provide access to its judicial processes without regard to a party's ability to pay court fees. See, e.g., Boddie v. Connecticut, 401 U.S. 371, 374 (divorce proceedings). Making clear, however, that a constitutional requirement to waive court fees in civil cases is the exception, not the general rule, the Court has refused to extend Griffin to the broad array of civil cases. See United States v. Kras, 409 U.S. 434, 445 ; Ortwein v. Schwab, 410 U.S. 656, 661 (per curiam). But the Court has consistently set apart from the mine run of civil cases those involving state controls or intrusions on family relationships. In that domain, to guard against undue official intrusion, the Court has examined closely and contextually the importance of the governmental interest advanced in defense of the intrusion. Pp. 8-12."
"Lassiter v. Department of Social Servs. of Durham Cty., 452 U.S. 18 (appointment of counsel for indigent defendants in parental status termination proceedings is not routinely required by the Constitution, but should be determined on a case-by-case basis), and Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745 ("clear and convincing" proof standard is constitutionally required in parental termination proceedings)."
"While the Court declined to recognize an automatic right to appointed counsel, it said that an appointment would be due when warranted by the character and difficulty of the case. See Lassiter, 452 U.S., at 31 -32."
AND MORE GOOD STUFF...including some bckgrnd to reversal concerning child support...
MISSISSIPPI CHOCTAW INDIAN BAND v. HOLYFIELD
490 U.S. 30 (1989)
the USSC said:
"Various other provisions of ICWA Title I set procedural and substantive standards for those child custody proceedings that do take place in state court. The procedural safeguards include requirements concerning notice and appointment of counsel"
"Each party to the proceeding has a right to examine all reports and documents filed with the court, and an indigent parent or custodian has the right to appointment of counsel. 1912(b), (c)."
AND MORE GOOD STUFF LIKE THAT...
(Note to <name redacted>: now... if the USSC says that *only* American Indians are *entitled* to appointment of counsel in *their* divorce proceedings, but *not* the average US citizen, wouldn't THAT be patently discriminatory and unconstitutional???)
LASSITER v. DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES
452 U.S. 18 (1981)
the USSC said:
"the right to appointed counsel is demonstrated by the Court's announcement in In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1 , that 'the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment requires that in respect of proceedings to determine delinquency which may result in commitment to an institution in which the juvenile's freedom is curtailed,' the juvenile has a right to appointed counsel even though those proceedings may be styled 'civil' and not 'criminal.' Id., at 41"
"Informed opinion has clearly come to hold that an indigent parent is [452 U.S. 18, 34] entitled to the assistance of appointed counsel not only in parental termination proceedings, but in dependency and neglect proceedings as well."
[ Footnote 6 ] A number of courts have held that indigent parents have a right to appointed counsel in child dependency or neglect hearings as well. E. g., Davis v. Page, 640 F.2d 599 (CA5 1981) (en banc); Cleaver v. Wilcox, 499 F.2d 940 (CA9 1974) (right to be decided case by case); Smith v. Edmiston, 431 F. Supp. 941 (WD Tenn. 1977).
AND A *WHOLE* LOT OF GOOD STUFF IN THE *MULTIPLE* DISSENTS
MELTZER v. LECRAW
402 U.S. 936 (1971)
There are seriously major arguments supporting the rights of indigent parents to have appointed counsel in family law matters, especially since the USSC has *also* consistently ruled that family (bonds/relationships/liberty interests) are amongst the very highest of all constitutionally-protected rights... PLUS, see also the related collection.