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

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Juvenile Law
  • Date Filed: 04-08-2015
  • Case #: A156348
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Garrett, J. for the Court, Ortega, P.J., & DeVore, J.

State v. Geist, does not allow for inadequate assistance of counsel to be raised for the first time on appeal in this scenario because T. L. held that ORS 419B.923 provides other remedies to challenge the adequacy of dependency counsel.

Mother appealed a judgment which terminated her parental rights to her daughter, A. Mother raises three issues on appeal. First, mother contends that the juvenile court committed plain error by the continued appointment of a guardian ad litem (GAL) despite her having been found competent in another court proceeding. Second, mother claims that she received inadequate assistance of counsel because her attorney did not object to the continued appointment of the GAL. Third, mother claims that the termination proceedings were fundamentally unfair due to the first two issues raised in this appeal. In 2012, DHS was called because mother was nonresponsive to A’s screams and their house did not have an adequate supply of food. A was then placed in foster care. The mother has a long history of psychiatric instability. After an incident where mother was charged with assault, a circuit court declared her unfit to proceed and DHS requested that the juvenile court appoint a GAL for mother. Months later after mother had “stabilized” while at the Oregon State Hospital the appointment continued on the request of DHS and with no objection from mother’s attorney. In response to the issues raised the Court determined that the juvenile court did not commit plain error by allowing the GAL appointment to continue and that it was not fundamentally unfair of them to do so because they did not have a sua sponte obligation to determine if the appointment should have been terminated. Finally, the assertion that mother’s counsel provided inadequate assistance failed because it was raised for the first time on appeal. Affirmed.

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