October 21, 2023

Mother appealed the termination of her parental rights, claiming that the court erred in denying her request for new counsel on the first day of the trial, and more specifically, that the court improperly based its decision on the best interest of the child.

The Court held here that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Mother’s request for new counsel.  Rather, the court properly considered whether the request for new counsel would cause an undue delay in the trial, and its consideration of the child’s best interest was tied into that concern.  The court considered the issues Mother raised in support of her request for a continuance — including her counsel’s performance, her acceptance into a treatment program, her incarceration, and her contact with the child’s unidentified father — and expressed its belief that she raised those issues on the first day of trial for the purpose of causing a delay.