Right to counsel

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Legislation, Civil Commitment - Subject of Petition

While Alaska Stat. § 47.30.725(d) speaks of a right to be “represented by an attorney” in civil commitment proceedings, other statutory provisions clarify that this is a right to appointed counsel.  First, Alaska Stat. § 18.85.100(a) (the public defender statute) provides a right to counsel to an indigent person “against whom commitment proceedings for mental illness have been initiated.”  Second, during the initial involuntary commitment procedures, upon petition by any adult, the court must first order a screening investigation, and within 48 hours after completion of that screening, the court must appoint counsel if the court finds probable cause of mental illness.  Alaska Stat. § 47.30.700(a).

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no