Justia Washington Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Education Law
In this case the issue presented for the Supreme Court's review was whether a thirteen-year old was denied due process rights when she was not appointed counsel at a truancy hearing. Despite a district court's order to attend school, E.S. missed classes from 2005 to 2007. At first, E.S. and her mother attended the hearings, but were not represented by counsel, nor did they ask that counsel be present. The court explained that E.S. would be "sentenced" to house arrest, work crew and detention if she did not comply with the order, but she continued to miss school. At E.S.' last court appearance, she was represented by counsel. She was ordered to spend six days in detention with electronic monitoring. E.S., through her attorney, filed a motion to have the home detention set aside, which was denied. The Court of Appeals vacated E.S.' sentence, finding that the child's "interests in her liberty, privacy and right to education [were] in jeopardy" at the truancy hearings, and that due process required counsel at each appearance. On appeal to the Supreme Court, the School District argued that Washington courts never required the appointment of counsel to protect a child's privacy and education interests. The Supreme Court agreed with the District. Upon review of the record, the state constitution and the applicable legal authority, the Court found that E.S. was not denied due process rights because she was not appointed counsel in the initial truancy hearings. The Court reversed the Court of Appeals' decision and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Bellevue Sch. Dist. v. E.S." on Justia Law