PA Superior Court: appointed counsel must represent so long as there is a likelihood of imprisonment

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03/17/2021, Litigation, Civil Contempt in Family Court

In E.M.R. v. C.A.F., 2021 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 731, the Pennsylvania Superior Court vacated a contempt order where the trial court imposed incarceration for failure to pay child support, but suspended the sanction so long as the father didn’t miss future payments. The father, pro-se at trial, was represented by appointed counsel on appeal. In its remand instructions, the Superior Court, citing Commonwealth v. Diaz, directed “[a]ppellant's appointed counsel must continue to represent Appellant as long as Appellant is indigent and the trial court continues to find a likelihood of imprisonment due to contempt.”


Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes