Right to counsel

Litigation, Civil Commitment - Subject of Petition

In Commonwealth ex rel. Finken v. Roop, 339 A.2d 764, 770 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1975), the court examined the civil commitment statute and noted, "[Section] 406 does not require that the subject of a civil commitment petition be represented by counsel. Nor does it require that the final commitment order follow an evidentiary hearing. If neither were read into the statute, § 406 would be blatantly unconstitutional."  The court found, however, that it had the power to read such basic due process requirements into the statute.  See also Dixon v. Attorney Gen. of Pennsylvania, 325 F. Supp. 966 (M.D. Pa. 1971) (finding federal right to appointed counsel for commitment proceedings).

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes