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).
Legislation, Guardianship/Conservatorship of Adults - Protected Person
South Dakota's Guardianship and Conservatorship Act obliges a court to appoint counsel to represent a "protected person" "if requested by the person alleged to need protection, if the person expresses a desire to contest the petition, or if the court determines that an appointment is otherwise needed to protect the person's interests. In appointing an attorney, the court shall consider any known preferences of the person alleged to need protection." S.D. Codified Laws § 29A-5-309. The court can also appoint counsel for a guardianship review/termination proceeding if "necessary to protect the person's interests." S.D. Codified Laws § 29A-5-508(4). A similar provision permits a court to assign counsel to minors allegedly in need of protection. S.D. Codified Laws § 29A-5-205. Under South Dakota law, the costs of such representation should come from the estate of the protected person or protected minor. S.D. Codified Laws § 29A-5-116.
In In re Guardianship & Conservatorship of Nicole Trina Stevenson, 825 N.W.2d 911 (S.D. 2013), the court clarified the role of appointed attorneys in guardianship cases:
[A] court should be clear what role it intends the appointed advocate to assume, keeping in mind that the attorney's role is not to determine the protected person's best interests, but, after advice and assistance, to advocate a decision that the client desires. Indeed, the role of an attorney for a protected person should be no different than that of an attorney representing any other client, "as far as reasonably possible." See S.D. Rules of Professional Conduct, App. ch. 16-8, Rule 1.14. If, on the other hand, the court wishes to have an investigative report submitted on the best interests of the protected person, a court representative is the proper appointment.
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: yes