In re T.D., 248 N.C. App. 366 (2016) (originally unpublished but subsequently published)

  • A termination of parental rights requires that a respondent parent have a fundamentally fair procedure. In North Carolina part of that fundamental fairness is provided by a respondent parent’s statutory right court appointed counsel, which includes the parent’s right to effective assistance of counsel.  
  • The record raises serious questions as to whether the respondent received effective assistance of counsel in the termination hearing that lasted nineteen minutes. An attorney’s relative silence at a hearing is not per se ineffective assistance of counsel. The trial court must determine (1) whether the attorney’s performance was deficient and (2) if so whether the deficiency prejudiced the respondent such that she was deprived of a fair hearing thus entitling her to a new hearing.



Termination of Parental Rights
Appointment of Counsel
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
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