Right to counsel

Litigation, Civil Commitment - Subject of Petition

In Matter of Simons, 698 P.2d 850, 851 (Mont. 1985), the court considered a denial of counsel in a case involving involuntary civil commitment for mental health reasons. The Court noted the existence of a statutory right to counsel for such proceedings, then commented that, "[s]ection 53–21–115, MCA, gives a person against whom a petition for involuntary commitment has been filed all rights guaranteed by the constitutions of the United States and of the state of Montana, including . . . the right to counsel."  The Court also held that the failure to provide an attorney "is a violation of both his statutory and constitutional rights of due process."

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes