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Name: In re J.W.
Case #: S100745
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 11/14/2002
Subsequent History: None

A reviewing court is required to appoint counsel for an indigent parent on an appeal from a judgment freeing a child from parental custody and control, regardless of whether the child is a dependent of the court. Although Family Code section 7895 might on its face appear to restrict the right to appointed appellate counsel to parents of juvenile court dependents, applying standard principles of statutory construction to determine and effectuate legislative intent, it must be construed to establish a right to appointed appellate counsel for any indigent parent appealing a parental rights termination. Therefore, in this case, where the father petitioned under Family Code section 7822 for a judgment declaring his son free from the custody of his mother, the mother was entitled to appointed counsel, and the judgment denying appointment of counsel had to be reversed.