A Cedar Rapids attorney will not be paid for part of the legal work she did for a grandmother trying to get custody of her grandchildren. It’s all about a case involving Mary Snell, who was raising her daughter’s children.
Five years ago, the state started proceedings to remove the children from Snell’s home. Eventually, the state went to court to terminate Snell’s daughter’s parental rights and move the kids elsewhere. A juvenile court judge appointed a lawyer to represent the grandmother. But the Iowa Supreme Court has ruled grandparents do not have the right to state-paid lawyers in such cases.
The State Public Defender paid about half of the bill attorney Judith Amsler of Cedar Rapids submitted for her work and expenses, but he refused to pay the rest. The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that refusal is proper because it is "ridiculous" to assume that the state should pay the "unending" costs of attorneys to represent grandparents as state law says grandparents have no legal standing to protest when their sons or daughters lose their parental rights to the next generation of grandkids.