Case Caption: In Re: Jamal MortonCase Number: S. Ct. Civ. No. 2011-0116Date: 02/27/2012Author: Per CuriamCitation: Summary:

A petition for mandamus and motion for appointment of counsel are denied. Appellant's defense attorney in a case charging multiple felonies submitted a motion for "Constitutionally Adequate Attorney Fees," purportedly filed on behalf of appellant, which was denied by the Superior Court as collateral to the prosecution. In the mandamus petition, it cannot be concluded that the Nominal Respondent's decision to decline to reach the merits of the motion and advise defendant or counsel to file a separate civil action constituted a breach of the ministerial duty to render a legally correct decision, given the absence of binding precedent, the procedural posture of this case, and divergent authority from other jurisdictions. Secondly, a mandamus proceeding is not criminal or quasi-criminal, and no constitutional provision requires appointment of counsel-whether in a trial or appellate court-in a purely civil case. While this Court has inherent and statutory authority, in its discretion, to appoint counsel to represent indigent litigants, it cannot be concluded that compensating counsel in this case from public funds for services rendered in conjunction with this mandamus proceeding would in any way further the interests of justice. The petition for writ of mandamus and the motion for appointment of counsel are denied.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion