If a court denies you counsel, an appellate court will likely vacate any order against your interests. However, there are times being denied counsel is not prejudicial. In these situations, an appellate court will affirm a court order against you. Broom v. Jennifer J., Derrick H., and SC DSS is a case where the denial of counsel is at issue.

What Happened?

Mother gave birth to Child. Five months later, DSS received a report of neglect from a sheriff’s deputy. DSS removed Child and Sister from the home and place Child with the Brooms for foster care. The court later gave legal custody of Child to DSS and directed the appointment of counsel for Mother. The Brooms later filed for termination of parental rights and adoption of Child. The court denied mother court-appointed counsel for this action because DSS did not bring it. Mother objected to proceeding without counsel, and the court noted the objection. However, the court did not make any findings or rulings about her objection. Mother did retain a lawyer by the time of the final hearing, but she was unrepresented in all matters prior to the final hearing. The family court, in the end, terminated Mother’s parental rights and granted custody to the Brooms. Mother appealed.

The SC Supreme Court affirmed the family court. It found that the family court erroneously denied counsel for Mother. However, the Court found that this denial of counsel did not harm her. The court found that TPR was in the child’s best interest. Also, the Court found that, with or without counsel, the end result would be the same for Mother.

Fighting after You’re Denied Counsel

A lawyer will fight for your rights. If a court denies you counsel, a lawyer will fight to give you a fair chance with a new trial. Don’t think that you do not need a lawyer. If you are denied counsel, fight! Retain a lawyer to ensure that your rights are secure. Contact us today.