Right to Counsel Waiver In Involuntary Commitment Cases

In Daniel Y. v. Arizona Department of Economic Security, 206 Ariz. 257, 260-61, P15, 77 P.3d 55, 58-59 (App. 2003) a parental termination case, the Court stated that the "standard for waiver of counsel under the statute is not different than it is for any other constitutional right." "Prior to finding that a client has waived his right to counsel, Arizona law requires that he be advised of the dangers of self-representation, and the difficulties involved in defending oneself without formal legal training." Id. Other jurisdictions that have addressed the issue have found that the right to counsel can be waived in involuntary commitment cases. See: Doremus v. Farrell, 407 F. Supp. 509, 516 (D. Neb. 1975) ("The right to counsel may only be waived by an intelligent, knowing and voluntary waiver."); Honor v. Yamuchi, 307 Ark. 324, 820 S.W.2d 267, 270-71 (Ark. 1991) ("Before [a patient] manages his own defense he must knowingly and intelligently waive the right to counsel. Every reasonable presumption must be indulged against the waiver of fundamental constitutional rights."); In re Click, 196 Ill. App. 3d 413, 554 N.E.2d 494, 497, 143 Ill. Dec. 559 (Ill. App. Ct. 1990) ("To grant [the statutory] request, the court must be satisfied that [the patient] has the capacity to make an informed waiver of his right to counsel."); In re R.Z., 415 N.W.2d 486, 488 (N.D. 1987) ("The right to counsel may be waived if the waiver is knowing, intelligent and voluntary."); McDuffie v. Berzzarins, 43 Ohio St. 2d 23, 330 N.E.2d 667, 669 (Ohio 1975) ("The touchstone of our examination is that a waiver of this sort must be knowingly and intelligently made."); Lanett v. State, 750 S.W.2d 302, 304 (Tex. App. 1988) ("We hold . . . that a [patient] in a mental health proceeding has the right to waive court-appointed counsel and represent himself . . . contingent upon the court finding, on the record, that the waiver is voluntary, knowing, and intelligent.").