Michigan

This page provides a breakdown of all major developments and right to counsel law that the NCCRC knows for this state, sorted by subject area. Click on either tab below to see the aspect it describes.

Color Key Explanation
Categorical Right To Counsel There is a right to counsel without qualification for all indigent individuals in this type of case (except that the individual may be required to request counsel).
Discretionary Appointment Of Counsel Courts are permitted but not required to appoint counsel for any indigent individual in this type of case. A request may be required.
Right Or Appointment Is Qualified The established right to counsel or discretionary appointment of counsel is limited in some way, including: the only authority comes from a lower/intermediate court decision or a city government, not a high court or state legislature; a case has cast doubt on prior authority; a statute is ambiguous; or the right or discretionary appointment is not for all individuals or proceedings within that type of case.
No Such Proceeding This state has no law creating a judicial proceeding of this type.
None While this state does not provide for or require appointment of counsel with respect to the given subject area, it does have something (such as a report or bar policy) that supports the right to or appointment of counsel for this subject area.
Other Because the "Other subject areas” category can include developments from different subject areas that do not work the same way as each other, a blanket categorization of this category is not possible.

Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Accused Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for indigent parents in abuse/neglect proceedings, and they must be told of this right.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Court Rule or Initiative

Michigan Supreme Court clarifies right to counsel for adults

01/01/2011

The Michigan Supreme Court clarified that the right to counsel for parents in child protective proceedings includes the preliminary hearing.

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Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

In a proceeding alleging abuse or neglect, the court must appoint a lawyer-guardian ad litem to represent the child.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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All Basic Human Needs

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

The Michigan Supreme Court has said that trial courts have inherent power to appoint counsel for indigent litigants in order to render justice.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Bypass of Parental Input into Abortion - Minor

Court Rule or Initiative

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A minor has a right to counsel in proceedings to waive the parental consent requirement for an abortion.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Civil Contempt in Family Court

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

The Michigan Supreme Court found a federal constitutional right to counsel in civil contempt proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Civil Commitment - Subject of Petition

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for respondents in civil commitment proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a federal constitutional right to counsel in Michigan civil commitment proceedings, as per a federal court decision.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Custody Disputes - Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

The court may appoint counsel for a parent in a third party custody dispute.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Custody Disputes - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

A court may appoint a lawyer-GAL for a child in any private custody dispute if the child's interests are not adequately represented.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Guardianship/Conservatorship of Adults - Ward

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to appointed counsel for the subject of guardianship proceedings in certain situations.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Paternity - Defendant/Respondent

Litigation

Right to counsel

The Michigan Supreme Court recognized a right to counsel in paternity cases under the state constitution where the state files the petition.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Court Rule or Initiative

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for indigent respondents in paternity proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Paternity - Petitioner or Child

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

If a paternity petitioner is unable to hire an attorney, the state must supply a prosecuting attorney or county attorney to bring the action.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Quarantine/Inoculation

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for a person considered a health threat prior to being committed to an institution or subjected to tests.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Sexually Dangerous Persons - Commitment

Legislation

No such proceeding

There is no procedure in the state for confinement of a sexually dangerous/violent person.

Termination of Parental Rights (Private) - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

A court may appoint counsel for a child in a petition for adoption after temporary placement.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Children in termination of parental rights proceedings are entitled to a lawyer-GAL.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Termination of Parental Rights (Private) - Birth Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Certain adoption scenarios lead to a right to counsel for the birth parent.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Litigation

Discretionary appointment of counsel

The Michigan Supreme Court has said that trial courts have discretion to appoint counsel for indigent parents in adoption cases.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Birth Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for indigent parents in termination of parental rights proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Michigan Supreme Court dodges case on right to counsel in termination cases

03/12/2009

The Michigan Supreme Court declined to review a case where the trial court failed to appoint counsel for a parent in a termination case.

 

Nccrc_involvement_icon NCCRC filed a supportive amicus brief in the case.

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Right to counsel

A plurality of the MI Supreme Court found a state due process right to counsel for indigent parents in termination of parental rights cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Truancy - Petition Against Child

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Indigent children in Michigan have a right to counsel in truancy proceedings (which are handled as status offenses).

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Other Subject Areas

Legislation

Discretionary appointment of counsel - minor emancipation

A court may appoint counsel for the minor and/or parents if a petition to emancipate has been filed.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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