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« Fifty Ways NOT To Leave Your Lover, And If That Doesn't Work, Good Mental Health Tips | Main | Comments: Fees For Guardians Ad Litem »

October 13, 2006


I wanted to say that my parents have been tied up in court for three years trying to gain permanent custody of their granddaughter. She was placed in their custody after child protective services removed her from the biological mom at only a couple weeks old. These are the paternal grandparents. Since the mentally ill mother can not afford an attorney, she has been appointed one,(for three years)! As my parents have paid and continue to pay thousands. Even paid over $2000 for the mental records to be copied and sent to the judge! What do my parents get in the mail yesterday? A court order from the judge to pay the one time fee of $500 for the opposing counsel!!! What!!! They are ordering them to pay the attorney for the person they are fighting, along with all of the attorneys fees they have already paid for themselves. Is this legal? The opposing counsel has defineately done his work, but for my parents to pay him sounds absolutely unresonable to me. This is a Whitley County, KY case.

I think that when many of these court appointed programs were set up, the legislature contemplated that attorneys would be handling a case or two pro bono, rather than trying to earn a living off representation. Of course, this isn't a very realistic model for ensuring competent representation. I think what also happens in many cases where courts implement flat fees is that they discover that a few attorneys have abused the system, and they react by punishing everyone - not just attorneys, but the clients they represent.

Thanks for your support.

I wanted to inform your readers that I personally do not deserve all of the credit for "leading" this litigation. Joe Elder filed the origninal motion to hold the Cabinet in contempt of court. Other lawyers who have joined the cause are Chris Harrell, Dana Kolter, Cathy Wallace, and Elizabeth Bricking. Additionally, Richard Porter has litigated this issue in another division which resulted in the Cabinet being already held in contempt of Court for this identical issue.

It just seems less than fair for me to get the attention when it has been a true team effort.

John Helmers.

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