Rule 3.915 Assistance of Attorney

(A) Delinquency Proceedings.

(1) Advice. If the juvenile is not represented by an attorney, the court shall advise the juvenile of the right to the assistance of an attorney at each stage of the proceedings on the formal calendar, including trial, plea of admission, and disposition.

(2) Appointment of an Attorney. The court shall appoint an attorney to represent the juvenile in a delinquency proceeding if:

(a) the parent, guardian, or legal custodian refuses or fails to appear and participate in the proceedings;

(b) the parent, guardian, or legal custodian is the complainant or victim;

(c) the juvenile and those responsible for the support of the juvenile are found financially unable to retain an attorney, and the juvenile does not waive an attorney;

(d) those responsible for the support of the juvenile refuse or neglect to retain an attorney for the juvenile, and the juvenile does not waive an attorney; or

(e) the court determines that the best interests of the juvenile or the public require appointment.

(3) Waiver of Attorney. The juvenile may waive the right to the assistance of an attorney except where a parent, guardian, legal custodian, or guardian ad litem objects or when the appointment is based on subrule (A)(2)(e). The waiver by a juvenile must be made in open court to the judge or referee, who must find and place on the record that the waiver was voluntarily and understandingly made.

(B) Child Protective Proceedings.

(1) Respondent.

(a) Advice and Right to Counsel. At respondent's first court appearance, the court shall advise the respondent of the right to retain an attorney to represent the respondent at any hearing conducted pursuant to these rules and that

(i) the respondent has the right to a court appointed attorney at any hearing conducted pursuant to these rules, including the preliminary hearing, if the respondent is financially unable to retain an attorney, and,

(ii) if the respondent is not represented by an attorney, the respondent may request a court-appointed attorney at any later hearing.

(b) Appointment of an Attorney. The court shall appoint an attorney to represent the respondent at any hearing, including the preliminary hearing, conducted pursuant to these rules if

(i) the respondent requests appointment of an attorney, and

(ii) it appears to the court, following an examination of the record, through written financial statements, or otherwise, that the respondent is financially unable to retain an attorney.

(c) The respondent may waive the right to the assistance of an attorney, except that the court shall not accept the waiver by a respondent who is a minor when a parent, guardian, legal custodian, or guardian ad litem objects to the waiver.

(2) Child.

(a) The court must appoint a lawyer-guardian ad litem to represent the child at every hearing, including the preliminary hearing. The child may not waive the assistance of a lawyer-guardian ad litem. The duties of the lawyer-guardian ad litem are as provided by MCL 712A.17d. At each hearing, the court shall inquire whether the lawyer-guardian ad litem has met or had contact with the child, as required by the court or MCL 712A.17d(1)(d) and if the lawyer-guardian ad litem has not met or had contact with the child, the court shall require the lawyer-guardian ad litem to state, on the record, the reasons for failing to do so.

(b) If a conflict arises between the lawyer-guardian ad litem and the child regarding the child's best interests, the court may appoint an attorney to represent the child's stated interests.

(C) Appearance. The appearance of an attorney is governed by MCR 2.117(B).

(D) Duration.

(1) An attorney retained by a party may withdraw only on order of the court.

(2) An attorney or lawyer-guardian ad litem appointed by the court to represent a party shall serve until discharged by the court. The court may permit another attorney to temporarily substitute for the child's lawyer-guardian ad litem at a hearing, if that would prevent the hearing from being adjourned, or for other good cause. Such a substitute attorney must be familiar with the case and, for hearings other than a preliminary hearing or emergency removal hearing, must review the agency case file and consult with the foster parents and caseworker before the hearing unless the child's lawyer-guardian ad litem has done so and communicated that information to the substitute attorney. The court shall inquire on the record whether the attorneys have complied with the requirements of this subrule.

(E) Costs. When an attorney is appointed for a party under this rule, the court may enter an order assessing costs of the representation against the party or against a person responsible for the support of that party, which order may be enforced as provided by law.