Right to counsel

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Litigation, Civil Contempt in Family Court

In Johnson v. Johnson, 721 P.2d 290 (Kan. Ct. App. 1986), the court of appeals reversed the order incarcerating a civil contemnor who had not been appointed counsel in a case involving the failure to pay child support. The court's reversal was entirely based on the Tenth Circuit's ruling in Walker v. McLain, 768 F.2d 1181 (10th Cir.1985), finding that "due process does require, at a minimum, that an indigent defendant threatened with incarceration for civil contempt for nonsupport, who can establish indigency under the normal standards for appointment of counsel in a criminal case, be appointed counsel to assist him in his defense."   Thus, its ruling appeared to be based entirely on the federal constitution. Because of this, this case would likely be limited by the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Turner v. Rogers.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes