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NH - 1st State In The Country To Strip Parents The Right To Counsel

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posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 11:13 AM
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This information is approx. 7 months old, but it is new to me and my fellow New Hampshire citizens who apparently didn't receive the memo. We just learned of this from an 8 hour training to be a volunteer court appointed child advocate in the state of New Hampshire.





Attorneys for needy parents cut
Accused must defend themselves


Parents who cannot afford an attorney to defend themselves against accusations of abusing or neglecting their children are no longer entitled to have one appointed. The change in state law, which went into effect July 1, was prompted by budget cuts. It has child advocates as well as attorneys who represent parents in abuse and neglect cases worried that more children will be permanently removed from their homes.

Concordmonitor.com


Opinion: Representation of Accused Parents is Fundamental Right

Few rights can be argued to be more fundamental then the right to raise and care for one’s children. In recognition of that right, New Hampshire has long appointed counsel to represent indigent parents in abuse and neglect proceedings who face the removal of their children from their care by the State. The NH Supreme Court recognized in Shelby R. that "abuse and neglect proceedings can harm, and in some cases irreparably damage, family and marital relationships."

Despite the constitutional protections afforded to parents, recent passage of HB2 [the budget "trailer bill"] and the issuance of Circuit Court Administrative Order 2011-01 deprives indigent parents accused of abuse and neglect of the statutory right to be represented by an attorney at all stages of the proceedings. The Administrative Order prohibits any new appointments of counsel after July 1, 2011, and orders the automatic withdrawal of counsel after the issuance of dispositional orders for attorneys appointed prior to July 1, 2011. However, legislative enactments cannot override a constitutional protection and the Courts have an affirmative duty to invalidate a statute that violates a person’s constitutional rights.

NHbar.org


Coming Changes and Challenges to New Hampshire Parents' Right to Counsel in Abuse and Neglect Proceedings

Until June 30, 2011, attorneys shall continue to be appointed to represent an indigent parent only where mandated by RSA169-C:10, II(a), i.e. in cases where an indigent parent is alleged to have neglected or abused his or her child.

Effective July 1, 2011, counsel shall not be appointed for indigent parents in abuse and neglect cases under RSA chapter 169-C.

Effective July 1, 2011, all appointments of counsel, including existing appointments, to represent indigent parents in abuse and neglect cases shall terminate upon the issuance of the dispositional order pursuant to RSA 169-C:19.

NHfamilylawblog.com


AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COUNSEL FOR
CHILDREN


ARGUMENT
On July 1, 2011, the New Hampshire legislature eliminated funding for court appointed lawyers to represent indigent parents in child welfare cases. In doing so, New Hampshire became the first state in the country to strip parents of the right to counsel – an important procedural safeguard aimed at ensuring that courts reach accurate decisions involving the temporary or permanent placement of a child into foster care.

nh_amicus_brief.pdf

So if you can afford an attorney, this doesn't concern you. However, if you are the 99 out of 100 families who can't afford an attorney, you are on your own.

Q: Who are the families usually targeted for neglect and abuse?
A: The poor. The majority are families who can't afford their own attorney.

They cut 1.2 million out of their budget by doing this. Do you know how much waste spending there is in just my local area alone? There is a war going on right here at home against the family, and the attacks are coming from all directions.




posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 11:17 AM
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Doesn't this contravene the Miranda Act?



posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 11:26 AM
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Originally posted by intrepid
Doesn't this contravene the Miranda Act?


I didn't see them argue that in the pdf, they did argue these though...


The laws – which include, among others, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act,5 the Indian Child Welfare Act,6 the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act,7 the Adoption and Safe Families Act,8 the Multiethnic Placement Act,9 and the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act10 – impose binding obligations on child welfare agencies and detail steps that agencies must take prior to interfering with a parent’s liberty interest on either a temporary or permanent basis.

Page 10 .pdf



posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 11:33 AM
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OK, I read up on Miranda and that applies for obtaining council for interrogations by authorities while in custody. So I guess it doesn't really apply. What about the 6th Amendment though?


In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.


americanhistory.about.com...



posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 11:41 AM
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reply to post by intrepid
 


They said it best here...

...the Supreme Court will be called upon to recognize a parent's constitutional right to counsel in abuse and neglect proceedings. Until then, parents will have to navigate the abuse and neglect system without advice or counsel and try their best to advocate for themselves and their children.

nhfamilylawblog...

"Until then"... in the meantime, sucks to be poor and "accused" of alleged abuse. Going to be hard to prove your case when your nerves a mess and your . is spinning around in space from the dump truck load of legal speak paperwork one has to deal with.



edit on 5-2-2012 by JibbyJedi because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 11:47 AM
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reply to post by JibbyJedi
 


In other words they are rescinding portions of the 6th. That won't stand up in the US Supreme Court. Like you said though, "until then". What happens? Constitutional rights violations that will tear how many families apart? They think they're saving money? Wait until the law suits start pouring in.



posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 11:59 AM
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reply to post by intrepid
 


Who will be able to afford to pursue lawsuits when all is said and done? After their lives are destroyed, PTSD sets in, substance abuse soon follows, and then comes time to pursue JUSTICE for wrongful actions by the state... lol.

If they are lucky, and can scratch up a few bucks for a lawyer, they'll get a settlement by the time their children have children of their own..... maybe.



posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 12:10 PM
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Originally posted by JibbyJedi
reply to post by intrepid
 


Who will be able to afford to pursue lawsuits when all is said and done?


That's just it though. They can't afford a criminal attorney but civil lawyers will be salivating after the big pay's that will come from civil suits. Stupid isn't it?



posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 12:26 PM
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Originally posted by intrepid
OK, I read up on Miranda and that applies for obtaining council for interrogations by authorities while in custody. So I guess it doesn't really apply. What about the 6th Amendment though?


In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.


americanhistory.about.com...


These are (generally) not criminal prosecutions, these are nearly always handled in civil court, even when criminal accusations are being made; which is also why parents being accused have no right to know their accuser, among other things.



posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 04:00 PM
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The whole anti family agenda of the modern goverments, its automatic biases against the poor and the maginal,
The mockery of constitutional rights which the police and the goverment regularly engage in, all speak of fascism and eugenics.
The basis for much thinking of these people is eugenic in nature though they would deny it if confronted.
Truth is these slime consider themselves far above the rabble...they think that they alone have the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff, and soon become very casual about things which may destroy or greatly affect others lives.....
Their compassion is zero for anyone who is not in their circle or social standing.....
These people eventually start making their own versions of how the laws should be applied to those who may be within their power.....
The abuses have continued anabated covered up by their contemporaries and supervisory staff, and hidden from the courts as much as possible.....
This whole strata of society needs to be humbled in such a way that they would never do anything remotely similar again.....
Or maybe just hung for insurance....im not sure....



posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 04:33 PM
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reply to post by stirling
 


Good to see others are paying attention. I don't know how else to get the reality of the situation out there. We do all we can as it is, my girlfriend took in 100s of foster kids in the past 10 years, she's trying to be an advocate for these parents who can't get legal aid, and I'm trying to help by doing whatever I can.

Seems like a futile battle, like trying to catch all of the rain drops from the sky, but someone has to do something.


edit on 5-2-2012 by JibbyJedi because: tyop



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