Dept. of Human Services v. M.U.L.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Juvenile Law
  • Date Filed: 09-14-2016
  • Case #: A156348
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Garrett, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; & DeVore, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Unpreserved inadequate-assistance of counsel claims in dependency cases may be raised in the first instance on direct appeal.

This case came to the Court on remand from the Supreme Court in Dept. of Human Services v. T.L. where the Supreme Court held that, in juvenile dependency cases, an inadequate assistance of counsel claim may be raised in the first instance on direct appeal. Mother had a guardian ad litem (GAL) from 2012 to 2013, during the juvenile dependency case. The termination of parental rights trial occurred in February 2014; however, no one requested the GAL be terminated prior to or at the trial. According to ORS 419B.234(5) and ORS 419B.237(2)(a), the attorney for the parent must request removal of the GAL if appropriate and the trial court lacks discretion to continue a GAL if the parent no longer needs a GAL, respectively. Because of those two statutes, the Court held there was not enough evidence to determine if the continuance of the GAL resulted in inadequate assistance of counsel and remanded the proceeding to the trial court for an evidentiary hearing under ORS 419B.923. Vacated and remanded.

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