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Home / Courts / Justices hear SC case on right to counsel in child support nonpayment matter (access required)

Justices hear SC case on right to counsel in child support nonpayment matter (access required)

The U.S. Supreme Court considered March 23 whether a civil contempt proceeding that results in a jail term triggers the constitutional right to counsel. Turner v. Rogers - formerly Turner v. Price - involves Michael Turner's failure to pay more than $5,000 in child support. After failing to appear at a contempt hearing, he was ordered to be jailed for six months or until he paid the outstanding amount. At another contempt hearing, where Turner was not represented by counsel, he said was unable to pay due to his incarceration, drug addiction and physical disability. The court sentenced him to a term of incarceration not to exceed 12 months or until he could pay.

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