Right to counsel

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Legislation, Civil Commitment

Civil commitment orders may be sought for either mental health or substance use-related matters. See Haw. Rev. Stat. § 334-60.  Individuals subject to petitions for civil commitment have the right to be represented by the public defender under Haw. Rev. Stat. § 802-1(a), which states:  "Any indigent person who is: ... (2) Threatened by confinement, against the indigent person's will, in any psychiatric or other mental institution or facility ... shall be entitled to be represented by a public defender..."  Respondents must be notified of their right to representation pursuant to Haw. Rev. Stat. § 334-60.4(b)(6).  

Section 802-1(a) is likely broad enough to apply to adults and juveniles, and nothing in Haw. Rev. Stat. § 334-60.4(b)(6) indicates that the proceedings are limited to adults.  Likewise, Haw. Rev. Stat. § 571-87 (from the General Provisions covering family courts) is also seemingly applicable, providing:

When it appears to a judge that a person requesting the appointment of counsel satisfies the requirements of chapter 802 for determination of indigency, ... the judge shall appoint counsel ... to represent the person at all stages of the proceedings, including appeal, if any. 

This provision is presumptively applicable since the family court has "exclusive original jurisdiction" over matters related to "the treatment or commitment of a mentally defective or mentally ill child, or a child with an intellectual disability" under Haw. Rev. Stat. § 571-11, as well as over matters related to the "commitment of an adult alleged to be mentally defective or mentally ill". Haw. Rev. Stat. § 571-14(a)(5).

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no