Right to counsel
While a state may have many statutes, court decisions, or court rules governing appointment of counsel for a particular subject area, a "Key Development" is a statute/decision/rule that prevails over the others (example: a state high court decision finding a categorical right to counsel in guardianships cases takes precedence over a statute saying appointment in guardianship cases is discretionary).
Litigation, Child Support Enforcement (Civil Contempt)
In Pasqua v. Council, 892 A.2d 663, 674 n.5 (N.J. 2006), the New Jersey Supreme Court held that the due process guarantee of the New Jersey Constitution requires the assignment of counsel to indigent parents who are at risk of incarceration at child support enforcement hearings.
In its federal due process analysis, the court noted that Lassiter created a "presumption that an indigent litigant has a right to appointed counsel only when, if he loses, he may be deprived of his physical liberty." However, the court distanced itself from Lassiter by observing that, "[g]enerally, the right to appointed counsel for indigent litigants has received more expansive protection under our state law than federal law." The court acknowledged that the right to counsel is necessary in ability-to-pay hearings because of the "high risk of . . . wrongful incarceration," but also stressed that in other non-contempt contexts, "[u]nder the due process guarantee of the New Jersey Constitution, the right to counsel attaches even to proceedings in which a litigant is not facing incarceration."
The court also stated:
We can find no principled reason why an indigent facing loss of motor vehicle privileges or a substantial fine in municipal court, termination of parental rights in family court, or tier classification in a Megan's Law proceeding would be entitled to counsel under state law but an indigent facing jail for allegedly willfully refusing to pay a child support judgment would not.
The Pasqua court declined to require appointed attorneys in enforcement cases to work without pay, saying that it was certain the legislature would provide funding in response to the court's decision.
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: no