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Reading is difficult. As a writer, I help the reader every way I can think of. As a reader, I work hard not to miss the big things in the middle of the road.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Appointed Counsel in Civil Matters in Texas

             The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees that a criminal defendant has a right to the assistance of counsel. This has been expanded by the United States Supreme Court to a rule that if a criminal defendant cannot afford counsel, a lawyer will be provided at no charge by the government. This right under the Sixth Amendment does not apply in civil cases because the Sixth Amendment does not apply to civil cases.
             Generally, lawyers are appointed for civil parties served by publication. Such a lawyer's job is to find the defendant, so that the plaintiff doesn't just pretend to notify the defendant and therefore violate due process clauses in the U.S. Constitution.
Texas courts have to appoint counsel for indigent parents fighting termination of their parental rights, parents whose rights may be terminated who are served by publication (as above), hard-to-find fathers or putative fathers.

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