Right to counsel

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Litigation, Civil Commitment - Subject of Petition

In Denton v. Commonwealth, 383 S.W.2d 681, 682 (Ky. 1964), a case involving the predecessor statutes for involuntary mental illness hospitalizations, the Court of Appeals (which was the state high court at the time) held that, because such “a proceeding may lead to the loss of personal liberty, the defendant in that proceeding should be afforded the same constitutional protection as is given to the accused in a criminal prosecution.”  The court referenced the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and a comparable provision in the Kentucky Constitution, but the court only discussed the right of confrontation supplied by those provisions, and specifically held that “the burden of proof . . . and the manner of proceeding and the rules of evidence should be the same as those in any criminal or quasi criminal proceeding.”  Earlier, in the opinion’s factual recitation, the court did note that counsel had been appointed for the defendant.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no