Right to counsel
Litigation, Paternity - Defendant/Respondent
In Lavertue v. Niman, 493 A.2d 213 (Conn. 1985), the Connecticut Supreme Court held there is a right to counsel under the state and federal constitutions in paternity cases where the child is receiving public assistance (and therefore the state is the plaintiff). The court observed that both the child and parent had interests at stake: the parent faced a potential loss of liberty if he later failed to adhere to any child support obligation created as a result of the paternity finding, and under Connecticut law, the child could later be held liable for failing to support his father and also could have claims on his father's estate. The court also observed that it was important for the child to know who his father was in terms of having an accurate family medical history.
The court also pointed out that while the state shared the child's interest in obtaining an accurate outcome, it had a countervailing interest in "find[ing] any man it can hold financially liable to reimburse it...[which] may undermine its interest in an accurate outcome."
As to the risk of error, the court found it could be significant due to the use of scientific evidence (i.e., the blood tests), and outlined the kinds of things an attorney could do.
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: categorical Qualified: yes