Kona mom's custody case goes to state high court

Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - The state Supreme Court is considering a young Big Island mother's claim that she should have been appointed an attorney before she lost custody of her son.

The Kona mother was 15 when she gave birth in 2009. Last year, Family Court determined she couldn't care for her son.

Her lawyer Benjamin Lowenthal argued before the high court Thursday that a lawyer wasn't appointed for her until the boy had been in foster care for nearly two years.

He says the mother's rights were violated because Family Court didn't appoint an attorney to represent her earlier.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii and other public service law groups want a uniform Hawaii policy guaranteeing legal counsel for all indigent parents facing losing custody of children.

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