Right to counsel

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Legislation, Civil Commitment

South Carolina imposes a mandatory counsel requirement for those who face involuntary hospitalization for mental illness. S.C. Stat. § 44-17-530 ("Within three days after [a] petition for judicial commitment [of a mentally ill person] is filed, ...the court shall appoint counsel to represent the person if counsel has not been retained."); see also S.C. Stat. § 44-24-90(D) (same for commitment of a child); S.C. Stat. § 44-24-60(F) (A court that finds probable cause for the involuntary admission of a child to a hospital for treatment because he is a danger to himself or others "shall appoint counsel for the child if he has not retained counsel...").


South Carolina has also adopted a right to counsel in broad measures that may require even a limited period of loss of liberty. S.C. Stat. § 44-52-60(E) (court that orders emergency drug or alcohol abuse detention "shall ... appoint counsel for the patient if counsel has not been retained..."); see also S.C. Stat. § 44-52-70 (guaranteeing a right to counsel for indigent individuals "at all stages of the [involuntary drug or alcohol commitment] proceeding"); S.C. Stat. § 44-52-80 (requiring court to provide subject of involuntary commitment proceeding with notice of right to counsel if indigent).

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no