Father was ordered to show cause why he should not have been held in contempt for failing to comply with child support order. The South Carolina Family Court, Oconee County, found father in willful contempt and sentenced father to 12 months’ imprisonment. Father appealed. The Supreme Court, Justice Breyer, held that: (1) fact that father completed his prison sentence did not render moot his claim that he was entitled to counsel at his contempt hearing; (2) Due Process Clause did not require provision of counsel at father’s civil contempt proceeding; but (3) father’s incarceration violated the Due Process Clause. Vacated and remanded. Justice THOMAS filed a dissenting opinion in which Justice SCALIA joined, and Chief Justice ROBERTS and Justice ALITO joined in part.
Laura Morgan is a Family Law Consultant. Laura is available for consultation, brief writing and research on family law issues throughout the country. She can be reached through her website. www.famlawconsult.com