Right to counsel

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Legislation, Civil Contempt in Family Court

A Kentucky statute entitles any indigent person to representation who is “being detained by a law enforcement officer, on suspicion of having committed, or who is under formal charge of having committed, or is being detained under a conviction of, a serious crime,” see Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 31.110(1), where the definition of “serious crime” includes “[a]ny legal action which could result in the detainment of a defendant.”  See Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 31.100(8)(c).   In Lewis v. Lewis, the state supreme court interpreted these provisions to mean that “an indigent person who is facing incarceration for any amount of time is entitled to appointed counsel,” including in civil contempt proceedings.  875 S.W.2d 862, 863-64 (Ky. 1993).  

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no