Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Supreme Court decides Turner v Rogers

Back in March the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on a case called Turner v. Rogers (formerly titled Turner v. Price) which asked the court to decide whether an indigent client has a right to an attorney for civil contempt proceeding that could lead to jail time. I posted a number of links to comments on the oral argument the day after it was heard here

Yesterday, the Court announced its decision holding (on a 5 to 4 vote) that the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause does not automatically require the state to provide counsel at civil contempt proceedings to an indigent noncustodial parent who is subject to a child support order, even if that individual faces incarceration.   In this case, however, the petitioner’s incarceration violated due process because he received neither counsel nor the benefit of alternative procedural safeguards that would reduce the risk of an erroneous deprivation of liberty.  The opinion, as well as the lower court's opinion and the briefs and other relevant documents in the case are available here.

Here is a comment on the case at the Legal Ethics Forum (with links to two others here and here).  The Wall Street Journal law blog has the story here.

I will continue to update this post with links to comments on the case as I see new ones.

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