GA high court says some civil contempt cases might require counsel
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).
09/01/2014, Litigation, Child Support Enforcement (Civil Contempt)
A Georgia class action suit brought by the Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) raised whether there is a right to counsel for defendants in child support civil contempt cases brought by the state, attempting to answer a question left open by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Turner v. Rogers. After the Georgia trial court granted class certification, the Georgia Court of Appeals reversed and the Supreme Court of Georgia upheld the reversal, although the high court conceded that some contempt cases might require counsel (and there might even be a presumption in favor of counsel where the state is the plaintiff).
To read more, check our SCHR's page on the case.
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
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