Right to counsel

Key_development Question_mark

Legislation, Civil Commitment

"A child shall be represented by an attorney at all commitment or treatment guardianship proceedings under the Children's Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Act if the child is fourteen years of age or older or by a guardian ad litem if the child is under fourteen years of age."  NMSA 1978, § 32A-6A-13(A). Additionally, developmentally disabled adults subjected to involuntary commitment in residential care have a right to counsel. NMSA 1978, § 43-1-13(D) ("At the hearing on the petition, the proposed client shall be represented by counsel . . . .")

NMSA 1978, § 43-1-4 adds that in all mental health and developmental disabilities proceedings, "The court shall appoint counsel to represent a client who has not retained counsel and is unable to do so. When appointing counsel, the court shall give preference to nonprofit organizations offering representation to persons with a mental illness or a developmental disability. A client shall be liable for the cost of legal representation unless the client is indigent."

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no