You are on page 1of 1

Respondent objects to court-appointed attorney who is paid under existing state contract for the following reasons

: 1. CONTRACT for court appointed attorneys for respondent parents provides a financial disincentive to resolve the case prior to the statutory time limit for adjudication regardless of the fitness of the parents. It does this by imposing a financial penalty upon counsel for properly preparing the case and/or providing a vigorous defense which would result in the case being closed prior to adjudication. This has resulted in a wholesale practice of refusing to represent the client’s legal interests, of facilitating DHS demands, of attempting to withdraw when the client insists counsel challenge certain allegations, of failing to engage in standard pretrial practices including conducting discovery, subpoenaing witnesses, preparing the client for testimony, and other services any client has the right to expect from competent counsel. If court appointed counsel must pay back part of his fee simply because his did his job properly by insuring this case did not reach adjudication, it would not be in his own interests to do his job properly. His interests would be to keep the entire fee, and to conduct his practice accordingly, even at the expense of his client. This represents a conflict of interest. CONTRACT for court appointed attorneys for respondent parents provides a financial incentive to extend the case beyond the statutory time limit for adjudication, regardless of the fitness of the parents or the welfare of the child. This results in a deprivation of rights for the child and the parents by seeking delays. These delays are exceedingly harmful in the context of a case that must achieve permanency in twelve months. Under these statutory time frames, any delay in adjudication and disposition is unconscionable. This represents a conflict of interest. CONTRACT for court appointed attorneys for respondent parents provides an additional financial incentive to allow the case to go to termination of parental rights, regardless of the fitness of the parents. Court appointed counsel receives another lump sum at the time the agency files a petition to terminate parental rights. In order to maximize the amount of money counsel is paid for each case, the attorney must not successfully dispute the petition, or the treatment plan, or the court’s determination of reasonable efforts, which are the critical elements that must be challenged if the parent is to prevail and which would prevent DHS from being able to file a petition to terminate parental rights. This represents a conflict of interest. CONTRACT for court appointed attorneys provides for a pittance (Approximately $750 for two years of representation for respondent parent Colorado specific provision) which results in inadequate representation of the respondent parent. Attorney has no incentive or motivation to meet with client, properly advise the client of all legal alternatives and associated ramifications, conduct any investigation or discovery, research issues of law, prepare appropriate pleadings, litigate any issues in court, or engage in any activities designed to adequately represent the parent’s legal interests. This fee provides that the court appointed attorney will be nothing more than a court appointed facilitator for DHS demands. This denies the parent substantive and procedural due process and represents a conflict of interest. CONTRACT for court appointed attorneys for respondent parents provides for hourly payments at a rate which is less than half the standard accepted rates charged by attorneys in their private practices, assuming the attorney only appears for court hearings, and does nothing else in the way of case management. This provides a financial disincentive to properly prepare an effective and vigorous defense on behalf of the respondent parents. This represents a denial of due process and a conflict of interest.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Respondent respectfully requests the court to provide court-appointed counsel who is not paid according to the terms included in the state contract that represent a conflict of interest in order to protect the respondent parent’s rights to due process, equal protection, and other rights to be reserved, or, in the alternative, to order the court appointed attorney to provide all the customary legal services to which any client in any kind of case is entitled to have as being effective assistance of counsel. Respectfully submitted this ________________day of ______________, 20_____ ______________________________________________________________________________________ Respondent signature