Discretionary appointment of counsel - prisoners
While a state may have many statutes, court decisions, or court rules governing appointment of counsel for a particular subject area, a "Key Development" is a statute/decision/rule that prevails over the others (example: a state high court decision finding a categorical right to counsel in guardianships cases takes precedence over a statute saying appointment in guardianship cases is discretionary).
In White v. Trent, 519 S.E.2d 649 (W.Va. 1999), inmates asked for an attorney to be appointed to represent them regarding conditions of imprisonment. The Court held that the state public defender was not obligated to represent the inmates because "no statutory authority exists that would require the public defender to represent one of these inmates and expend state funds in doing so." The court commented, "[t]o require the public defender to represent inmates in actions relating to the conditions of their confinement might well inundate and overwhelm the system, thwarting the goals of the legislature, as recognized by this Court." However, it noted, "We do not mean to foreclose the possibility that an inmate seeking relief with respect to the conditions of his or her confinement may be appointed an attorney, other than the public defender, in the discretion of the court."
If "yes", the established right to counsel or discretionary appointment of counsel is limited in some way, including any of: the only authority is a lower/intermediate court decision or a city council, not a high court or state legislature; there has been a subsequent case that has cast doubt; a statute is ambiguous; or the right or discretionary appointment is not for all types of individuals or proceedings within that category.
Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: yes