Denise H. v. Arizona Dept. of Economic Sec
In Denise H. v. Arizona Dept. of Economic Sec., 193 Ariz. 257, 259, 972 P.2d 241, 243 (1998), counsel for a parent whose parental rights were terminated sought to file an Anders brief and have the Arizona Court of Appeals review the record for error.
The Court declined, stating:
A severance proceeding is not essentially the same as a criminal proceeding, nor does a parent whose rights are sought to be terminated enjoy the same rights as a person accused of committing a crime.
The right to file an Anders brief derives from the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, which applies to persons "accused" in "criminal prosecutions" . . . . A severance proceeding, on the other hand, is clearly civil in nature. It may be filed by the state, . . . or it may be filed by any private person or agency with an interest in the welfare of a child. . . . An indigent parent against whom a petition has been filed has the right to appointed counsel, but that right is afforded by statute and the Due Process Clause, not the Sixth Amendment.
The burden of proof required to terminate a parent's rights, although greater than that required for an ordinary civil proceeding, is still less than that required to convict a person of a crime.
The requirement that a person accused of a crime be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt is based on the common law presumption of innocence.
The statutory burden of proof for a severance proceeding, on the other hand, is required by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Thus, the burdens of proof are neither "very similar" nor do they derive from the same source.
Because a parent whose rights are terminated is not equivalent to a convicted criminal, we conclude that counsel for a parent appealing from a juvenile court's severance order has no right to file an Anders brief. Id. at 259, 972 P.2d at 243.