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In re Interest of D.B.

Supreme Court of Florida
385 So. 2d 83 (1980)


Facts

D.B.’s mother (defendant), a prostitute and heroin addict, surrendered D.B. for adoption when D.B. was five years old. Approximately four months later, the mother petitioned the State of Florida (plaintiff) to set aside the surrender. D.B.’s natural father (defendant) was not married to her mother and was in jail for burglary at the time. The father had never legally recognized his fatherhood of D.B. Both the mother and father sought custody of D.B. The trial court appointed a lawyer to represent the father and a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of D.B. In a separate case, the mother (defendant) was 16 years old and abandoned her nine-month-old baby, D.S., at the baby’s grandmother’s house. The Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (plaintiff) sought temporary custody of D.S. The trial court appointed a lawyer to represent D.S.’s mother in the proceeding and appointed a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of D.S. In each proceeding, the trial court ordered the state to pay the attorney’s fees for the appointed lawyers. The State of Florida appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Overton, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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