Right to counsel

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Legislation, Quarantine/Isolation

NOTE: this is a very complex area of law, especially as it relates to stay-at-home orders issued by the states.  Please read our primer on quarantine/isolation law before reading this specific state law.





Where a local health board "...knows that a case of a contagious or infectious disease exists within its jurisdiction, the board immediately shall examine the facts of the case and may adopt such quarantine and sanitary measures as in its judgment tend to prevent the spread of such disease."  N.D. Cent. Code § 23-07-06.  Quarantine measures that are imposed pursuant to this section must comply with the provisions of N.D. Cent. Code § 23-07.6 (set out below).  N.D. Cent. Code § 23-07-06. 

The state or local health officer "...may order any person or group into confinement by a written directive if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person or group is infected with any communicable disease, the state health officer or local health officer determines that the person or group poses a substantial threat to the public health, and confinement is necessary and is the least restrictive alternative to protect or preserve the public health."  N.D. Cent. Code § 23-07.6-02(1).  Confinement is defined as isolation or quarantine.  N.D. Cent. Code § 23-07.6-01(2). 


The procedure to isolate or quarantine a person or group of persons is set out in N.D. Cent. Code § 23-07.6-03.  The state or local health director may order the temporary quarantine or isolation of an individual or group via written directive, and follow with a petition to the court within 10 days for continued quarantine or isolation.  N.D. Cent. Code § 23-07.6-03(1).  It is not clear whether the procedures are applicable to the quarantine of an entire area. Such a quarantine is not specifically mentioned, but the statute contemplates a large enough group where the agency's written directive, as well as the subsequent petition, must include "...identification by characteristics if actual identification is impossible or impracticable." N.D. Cent. Code § 23-07.6-03(1)(b), & (2)(b). If there has been no temporary quarantine or isolation, the state or local health director may petition the court for an order authorizing the quarantine or isolation of an individual or group.  N.D. Cent. Code § 23-07.6-03(2).  Notice of the petition, in either case, must be served on the person or group within 24 hours and it "...must include a statement that the respondent has the right to counsel, including counsel provided at public expense if indigent..."  N .D. Cent. Code § 23-07.6-03(2)(c); see also N .D. Cent. Code § 23-07.6-05.


When someone known to have HIV is a danger to the public health, a state health officer may issue an order requiring that person to: be examined; report to a qualified doctor or health worker for counseling on the disease; or "cease and desist from specified conduct that endangers the health of others."  N.D. Cent. Code § 23-07.4-01.  The person subject to that order is "entitled to representation by legal counsel during any hearing to review the issuance of the order", but it is not clear whether this includes the right to appointed counsel if indigent.  These same rights exist if the procedures under § 23- 07.4-01 are exhausted and the court orders that the individual be taken into custody.  N.D. Cent. Code § 23-07.4-02.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes