This comment argues that given Article II, Section 15’s text, intent, and development in the courts, children must be appointed attorneys in dependency proceedings. Part II briefly explains the process of dependency proceedings, and the federal and state statutory framework that guides them. Part III first explains the rights implicated in dependency proceedings, which have been complicated by the courts. It then explains the origins of procedural due process in the federal system. Lastly, it discusses Montana’s extension of procedural due process to parents in dependency proceedings, giving parents the right to counsel. Part IV discusses four Montana Supreme Court cases regarding a child’s right to counsel in dependency proceedings. Part V describes how Article II, Section 15 entitles children to appointed counsel in dependency proceedings, both in its plain text and the Montana Constitutional Framer’s intent. Part VI continues the analysis by examining the implications of declaring a child’s right to an attorney under Article II, Section 15, and Part VII concludes that the Court must find Montana’s current dependency statutory framework unconstitutional.
Jennifer Shannon, The Analysis is Simple: A Child's Right to Counsel in Dependency and Neglect Proceedings Under the Montana Constitution, 79 Mont. L. Rev. 231 (2018). Available at: https://scholarship.law.umt.edu/mlr/vol79/iss2/4.