|Supreme Court of South Carolina
|Mar 23, 2011
|Jun 20, 2011
Holding: Although the petitioner has already served his sentence and alleges no collateral consequences will follow from the state's action against him the case is not moot because it is capable of repetition while evading review. Next, 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.
Judgment: Reversed and remanded, 5-4, in an opinion by Justice Stephen Breyer on June 20, 2011. Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion, which Justice Scalia joined in full and which the Chief Justice and Justice Alito join as to Parts I-B and II.