Right to counsel

Key_development Question_mark

Litigation, Civil Commitment

In In re Hop, 623 P.2d 282 (Cal. 1981), the California Supreme Court held that in the civil commitment of a developmentally disabled minor, such person is "entitled to the appointment of counsel" because "(i)nasmuch as a minor (or a developmentally disabled adult) may be presumed to lack the ability to marshal the facts and evidence, to effectively speak for himself and to call and examine witnesses, or to discover and propose alternative treatment programs, due process also requires that counsel be provided ....'"  The court's holding appears to apply to all respondents, not just minors.


Additionally, in Petition of Antoine C., 186 Cal. App. 3d 424, 230 Cal. Rptr. 738, 740 (1986), the court considered the county's contention that the word “counsel” could be construed to mean a nonlawyer advisor rather than an attorney.  The court held that the provision of a nonlawyer advisor rather than a lawyer violated Roger S., because “if the California Supreme Court intended ‘counsel’ to mean something other than ‘attorney’ it would have said so.”

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no