Case Conclusion Date: 06.20.2007
Practice Area: Child abuse
Outcome: Lower court order affirmed for DCF
Description: The father appealed his child's adjudication as dependent and argued that his due process rights were violated because he was incompetent and unable to assist in his defense, and in that the lower court did not appoint him an attorney ad litem. This was the first appellate decision pertaining to competence and dependency, and Jeffrey Bassett authored DCF's brief. The Fourth District sided with DCF, finding that the father did not have a right to an attorney ad litem and that the Department was not required to wait until the father regained mental competence in order to determine dependency for the minor child.