Tupelo, MS asked in Family Law for Mississippi

Q: Is there a right to appointed counsel for poor persons in Mississippi family court?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Albert Pettigrew, Jr.
Albert Pettigrew, Jr.
  • Ocean Springs, MS
  • Licensed in Mississippi

A: In Lassiter, the Supreme Court found that the parent was not entitled to the appointment of counsel because the case did not involve 1) " allegations of neglect or abuse upon which criminal charges could be based; " 2) expert witness testimony; or 3) " specially troublesome points of law, either procedural or substantive." Id. The Supreme Court concluded that the presence of counsel would not have resulted in a determinative difference and that the trial court did not err by failing to appoint counsel for the parent. J.C.N.F. v. Stone County Dept. of Human Services, 996 So.2d 762 (Miss. 2008)relying on Lassiter v. Department of Social Services, 452 U.S. 18, 101 S.Ct. 2153, 68 L.Ed.2d 640 (1981).

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