In Lassiter v. Department of Social Services, the Supreme Court of the United States held that due process mandates only a case-by-case analysis for determining when a court should appoint counsel for an indigent parent in an action to terminate parental rights. The author analyzes Lassiter in relation to the historical development of an indigent's right to counsel in criminal and civil proceedings. The author argues that a case-by-case analysis is unlikely to afford adequate protection for a parent's right to child custody and is also inconsistent with the Supreme Court's previous decisions establishing an absolute right to counsel in criminal prosecutions.
Lassiter v. Department of Social Services: The Right to Counsel in Parental Termination Proceedings,
36 U. Miami L. Rev.
Available at: http://repository.law.miami.edu/umlr/vol36/iss2/6