NH Supreme Court extends right to counsel to certain debt collection cases
While a state may have many statutes, court decisions, or court rules governing appointment of counsel for a particular subject area, a "Key Development" is a statute/decision/rule that prevails over the others (example: a state high court decision finding a categorical right to counsel in guardianships cases takes precedence over a statute saying appointment in guardianship cases is discretionary).
09/18/2018, Litigation, Consumer or Other Debt
Last year, the ACLU of New Hampshire fought successfully for the passage of a law that requires the appointment of counsel when a person faces imprisonment for inability to pay an “assessment”, i.e. a court fee or fine. The question then arose as to whether this law applied when the state brought a debt collection action to collect reimbursements that indigent people are required to pay for their appointed counsel in a criminal case. The ACLU of NH, along with NH Legal Assistance, sued and the Supreme Court of New Hampshire ruled that these reimbursement orders constituted an “assessment” such that they fell under the new law.
If "yes", the established right to counsel or discretionary appointment of counsel is limited in some way, including any of: the only authority is a lower/intermediate court decision or a city council, not a high court or state legislature; there has been a subsequent case that has cast doubt; a statute is ambiguous; or the right or discretionary appointment is not for all types of individuals or proceedings within that category.
Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes