Mississippi

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

Mississippi finally authorizes appointment of counsel in child welfare cases

05/13/2016

In 2016, the Mississippi Legislature enacted a law authorizing youth court judges to appoint counsel for parents in child welfare cases.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

 

Nccrc_involvement_icon The NCCRC gave some input on the bill language.

Read more about this

Pilot

Mississippi pilots show significant benefit of counsel in child welfare cases

05/15/2015

A recent Mississippi study showed that parents benefit significantly when given access to legal counsel.

 

Nccrc_involvement_icon NCCRC provided input on the pilot study.

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Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Minors in abuse/neglect proceedings have the right to an attorney-GAL.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Adult Protective Proceedings - Proposed Ward

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is potentially a right to counsel in vulnerable adult proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Bypass of Parental Input into Abortion - Minor

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel upon request for a minor seeking to bypass parental consent for an abortion.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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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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Incarceration for Fees/Fines (incomplete)

Legislation

Legislation (dead): fines/fees cases

02/21/2017

A series of bills would have required appointment of counsel prior to incarceration for failure to pay fines/fees.

 

Nccrc_involvement_icon The NCCRC assisted the work around HB 1033.

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Sexually Dangerous Persons - Commitment

Legislation

Mississippi

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

Right to counsel

A state statute requires appointment of a guardian ad litem who is an attorney for children in contested adoptions.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Minors have a right to counsel in termination of parental rights proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Birth Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Mississippi finally authorizes appointment of counsel in termination of parental rights cases

04/18/2016

In 2016, the Mississippi Legislature passed a bill authorizing judges to appoint counsel for parents in termination of parental rights cases.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

 

Nccrc_involvement_icon The NCCRC gave some input on the bill language.

Read more about this

Litigation

Mississippi court: parent should've been appointed counsel in termination case

08/20/2018

A trial court found it erred when it failed to consider whether a parent was entitled to counsel in a termination of parental rights case.

 

Nccrc_involvement_icon

The NCCRC assisted with the trial court briefing on the appointment of counsel question.

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Truancy - Petition Against Child

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Indigent Mississippi children have a right to counsel in truancy (which is treated either as a status offense or as a dependency matter).

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

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