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Juvenile Law Supreme Court Opinion

by Townsend, Karen


SC20151 - In re Taijha H.-B. (Termination of Parental Rights; Practice Book § 79a-3; appointed attorney declined to pursue an appeal; “The principal issue presented by this certified appeal is whether an appellate review attorney appointed to represent an indigent parent in an appeal from the termination of his or her parental rights must follow the procedure set forth in Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 87 S. Ct. 1396, 18 L. Ed. 2d 493 (1967), before being permitted to withdraw from representation on the ground that he or she is unable to identify any nonfrivolous basis for appeal. We hold that when, as in the present case, the circumstances are such that the indigent parent has a constitutional right to appellate counsel, counsel may not be permitted to withdraw without, first, demonstrating, whether in the form of an Anders brief or in the context of a hearing, that the record has been thoroughly reviewed for potential meritorious issues, and, second, taking steps sufficient to facilitate review of the case, by the indigent parent and the presiding court, for the purpose of a determination as to whether the attorney accurately concluded that any appeal would be meritless”.)