Right to counsel

Key_development Question_mark

Litigation, Incarceration for Fees/Fines (incomplete)

In McNabb v. Osmundson, 315 N.W.2d 9, 13 (Iowa 1982), the Iowa Supreme Court  held that the state was required to appoint counsel at public expense for an indigent defendant in a civil contempt proceeding. The court analyzed federal due process requirements only, "mak[ing] no attempt to arrive at [its] own independent interpretation of the United States Constitution, but follow[ing] the federal decisions as [the court] under[stood] them."  Because the defendant faced the prospect of incarceration, the court held that "[t]he potential sentence justifies our position that the nebulous distinctions between civil and criminal contempts are of no consequence in this jurisdiction."  The court also held that the right to counsel extended to the appeal.


The court has not revisited its opinion since the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Turner v. Rogers.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes