Court: Kids don’t have right to lawyer in certain hearings

October 5, 2018

SEATTLE (AP) — A divided Washington Supreme Court has ruled in an opinion that children who have been taken from their homes by the state do not have an automatic right to an attorney who represents their rights, and their rights alone, in a dependency court.

The Seattle Times reports the majority court on Thursday also established in the ruling criteria for family court judges to consider when deciding whether to appoint a lawyer to children who are involved in dependency cases.

The appeal before the high court was on behalf of two children in separate cases in King and Pierce counties who were not granted legal counsel during their dependency cases.

Washington is among the minority of states who do not assign legal counsel automatically to children in dependency cases.

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