Discretionary appointment of counsel - prisoners
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).
In Tedder v. Fairman, 441 N.E.2d 311, 315 (Ill. 1982), two prison inmates filed pro se writs of habeas corpus and mandamus, and the same public defender was appointed by the trial court to represent each plaintiff. After both plaintiffs' petitions were dismissed and notices of appeals were filed, the trial court again appointed counsel, this time the State Appellate Defender, to represent each prisoner in his appeal. The Appellate Defender, arguing that "indigent prisoners had no constitutional right to appointed counsel in civil cases," moved to withdraw. Agreeing with the Appellate Defender that "indigent prisoners bringing suits of this nature have no right to appointed counsel, either at trial or on appeal," the court of appeals allowed the withdrawal and stated that "any appointed counsel would have to come from the private bar."
The Illinois Supreme Court noted that "one guarantee which has become well established is a prisoner's constitutional right of access to the courts," the court referenced the United States Supreme Court decision in Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539 (1974) for the proposition that "prisoners bringing such [habeas] actions also have a right to some form of legal assistance to ensure that their access to the courts is meaningful." The court concluded that "once a circuit court, in its discretion, has determined that appointment of the public defender is appropriate to represent an indigent prisoner, limited to a grievance relating to the conditions of his confinement, then that assistant public defender is expected to exercise due diligence in proceeding with the assigned case."
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: discretionary Qualified: no