In the Interest of W.L.H.
Juvenile Law Center wrote an amicus brief on behalf of W.L.H., a child whose due process rights were denied during a child welfare proceeding in which a guardian ad litem vetoed the child’s expressed desire to appeal. W.L.H. had both a guardian ad litem and counsel.
Juvenile Law Center argued that a child who is dissatisfied with the outcome of a proceeding and wishes to file an appeal should have the right to do so, regardless of the position of any other party to the proceeding, including a guardian ad litem. To allow the decision of a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) or guardian ad litem to veto a child’s expressed desire to appeal would allow a third party to interfere in the attorney-client relationship, prevent the child from having a voice in the proceeding, and prevent the lawyer from effectively representing his or her client. The court’s holding—that the guardian ad litem could prevent the child from appealing through counsel—denies the child his right to due process, which requires that a child be allowed to appeal a ruling that has direct impact on him.
On March 4, 2013, the Supreme Court of Georgia affirmed the appellate court's decision.