Right to counsel

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Legislation, Sterilization

The Idaho Code section dealing with health and safety includes a provision that allows “any interested person” to “alleg[e] that [an individual] meets the requirements for sterilization.” Idaho Code Ann. § 39-3904.  Once a petition for sterilization is filed, counsel must be provided:


Persons subject to this chapter shall have counsel at all stages of the proceedings provided for in this chapter. Unless independently provided for by the persons subject to this chapter, counsel shall be appointed by the district court which shall also conduct an investigation to determine whether or not the person has funds in trust or otherwise to pay reasonable compensation to counsel. If the investigation discloses that the person is without such funds, the court shall order that counsel be paid reasonable compensation at public expense.


Idaho Code Ann. § 39-3905.


As to sterilization of wards, guardians and conservators of adults with developmental disabilities cannot, without court approval, "[c]onsent to medical or surgical treatment that results in sterilization, unless it is necessary to protect the physical health of the respondent and would be prescribed for a person who does not have a developmental disability[.]" Idaho Code Ann. § 66-405(10)(a).  Although Idaho Code Ann. § 66-404(3) provides a right to counsel upon the filing of a petition for guardianship of developmentally disabled person, it is not clear whether this right extends to other hearings, such as those regarding court approval of certain medical decisions. 

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no