Right to counsel

Key_development Question_mark

Legislation, Civil Commitment - Subject of Petition

When an indigent person is in need of mental treatment under Miss. Code Ann. § 41-21-61 et seq., there is a right to counsel, and this right is apparently not tied to indigence.   Miss. Code Ann. § 41-21-67(3) (when affidavit filed suggesting person is in need of treatment, “If the chancellor determines that the respondent for any reason does not have the services of an attorney, the chancellor shall immediately appoint an attorney for the respondent at the time the examiners are appointed”); 41-21-83 (for continued commitment hearing, “The clerk shall ascertain whether the patient is represented by counsel, and, if the patient is not represented, shall notify the chancellor who shall appoint counsel for him if the chancellor determines that the patient for any reason does not have the services of an attorney; however, the patient may waive the appointment of counsel subject to the approval of the court”); 41-21-102(8) (“A patient has the right to be represented by counsel at any proceeding under sections 41-21-61 through 41-21-107. The court shall appoint counsel to represent the proposed patient if neither the proposed patient nor others provide counsel. In all proceedings under section 41-21-61 through 41-21-107, counsel shall: (a) consult with the person prior to any hearing; (b) be given adequate time to prepare for all hearings; (c) continue to represent the person throughout any proceedings under this charge unless released as counsel by the court; and (d) be a vigorous advocate on behalf of his client.”)  Also, for commitments due to alcohol/drug abuse, there is a right to counsel.  Miss. Code Ann. § 41-32-5(2) (“The clerk must ascertain whether the respondent is represented by an attorney, and if it is determined that the respondent does not have an attorney, the clerk immediately must notify the chancellor of that fact. If the chancellor determines that the respondent for any reason does not have the services of an attorney, the chancellor must appoint an attorney for the respondent before a hearing on the affidavit.”)

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no