Dept. of Human Services v. T. L.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Juvenile Law
  • Date Filed: 03-03-2016
  • Case #: S063204
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Brewer, J. for the Court; Balmer, C.J.; Kistler, J.; Walters, J.; Landau, J.; & Baldwin, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

A parent can raise a claim of inadequate assistance of counsel when a judgment changes the permanent plan for his children from reunification with a parent to permanent plans of guardianship and APPLA.

Father raised a claim of inadequate assistance of counsel on appeal from a judgment changing the permanent plan for his children from reunification with a parent to permanent plans of guardianship and APPLA. Father's attorney did not appear at the hearing where the plans were changed. The Court holds that the claim of insufficient assistance of counsel extends to judgments changing plans, and is not limited to situations where parent's rights are terminated as decided in Geist. The Court also held that "nothing in ORS 419B.923 prohibits a juvenile court from considering a challenge under its provision to an order or judgment based on inadequate assistance of counsel" and that there is no specific way laid out to raise such a claim under ORS 419B.923. Concluding that the record was insufficient for an appellate court to make an informed determination whether Father was prejudiced by counsel's absence, the Court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. The decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed. The case is remanded to the circuit court for further proceedings.

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