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., the Pennsylvania Superior Court vacated a contempt order brought by the government 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. 251 A.3d 1242 (Pa. Super. 2021) (Table).  The father, pro-se at trial, was represented by appointed counsel on appeal. In its remand instructions, the Superior Court, citing Commonwealth v. Diaz191 A.3d 850 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2018), stated, “Appellant'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.” E.M.R.251 A.3d at 1242 n.5.


Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes