The Guardian- Season One
Indian Summer

Episode: 6

Production #: 106

First Air Date: October 30, 2001

Writer: David Hollander

Director: Lou Antonio

Guest Stars:

Michael Dean Jacobs as Arnold Goetz
John Walcutt as Wayne Haller
Heather McComb as Dina Jameson/Avis
Rusty Schwimmer as Barbara Ludzinski
Chet Grissom as John Feeney
John Getz as ?
Beverly Garland as Buyer
Dorie Barton as Ms More
Jana Arnold .... Edwina Donaldson
Daniel Bryan Cartwell .... Charles Donaldson
Beverly Garland .... ?
Morgan Henry .... Lisa Jameson
Keith Sellon-Wright .... Fletcher Sach
John Walcutt .... Wayne Haller
Amy Warner .... Jane Sinclair

Fan Rating: --/10 (Average of all fan submitted ratings)


Nick is shocked to find the woman he slept with the night before, Dina, now in his office seeking out his legal help. It seems that she is not the 25-year-old she claimed to be the night before in the bar, but a 16-year-old who is faced with being separated from her younger sister when her foster parents want to adopt the younger girl but not her. Dina seeks Nick's legal help to force the family to adopt them both, and threatens Nick with statutory rape charges if he doesn't succeed. Meanwhile, Alvin is desperate to get the funding that he needs in order to keep CLS operating. But, he falls exceedingly short and must tell his staff to look elsewhere for a job. In desperation, he decides to take the only funding offered to him, but it requires that Children's Legal Services expand its perimeters and provide legal aid for adults as well.

Case Law:

In this episode, Nick runs a very real risk of statutory rape, a Class 2 Felony in Pennsylvania. If he were convicted he would also be subject to certain sexual offender registration laws. In the 1990's, in response to a number of high profile cases in which sexual offenders were released and committed repeat offenses, the federal government and many states passed sex offender registration laws.

This episode also marks a shift in CLS's priorities after Alvin loses the children's contract. The State Funding Commission questions Alvin's approach to representing children . This involves a discussion as to whether a guardian ad litem should represent the child's "best interests" or a child's "wishes." For a long time in Pennsylvania this was an issue because the Child Protective Services Law required a guardian ad litem to represent "best interests" while the Juvenile Act required the guardian ad litem to voice the "best wishes". In practice when a conflict arose between the two, the lawyer was required to withdraw as the guardian ad litem and continue as the child's counsel. This inconsistency in the law has been resolved and now a guardian ad litem must represent the child's best interests. When CLS's funding crisis is almost terminal Nick floats the idea of distributing unallocated funds from a class action lawsuit that he is involved with. The courts have the power to distribute unallocated funds under the "cy-pres" doctrine.

At one point Nick suggests that he could help "emancipate" Dana. What is emancipation? It's a good question because in Pennsylvania emancipation is a term of art which means that a person establishes independence from their parents or guardians. A court order is not always required. For example, when someone is applying for welfare benefits the Department of Social Services uses their own test. Also a determination of emancipation for one purpose such as school may not be helpful for another, eg. applying for benefits. Marriage and parenthood do not automatically confer emancipated status. In Dana's case, emancipation would have little effect on her standing to adopt her sister at a later stage.

©2001 Almost Human