Unless the respondent is represented by counsel, the court shall appoint counsel pursuant to Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:10(1)(f)(iii) before or upon the respondent's appearance before the court.

July 22, 2015, effective February 1, 2016.


Rule 4 provides the court with flexibility to determine the appropriate time to appoint counsel for an unrepresented respondent. It may be convenient to appoint counsel upon a respondent's arrest, or even before then, to allow consultation before the respondent is brought before a judge. In any event, however, counsel must be appointed before the court-ordered examination, pursuant to G.L. c. 123, § 35 , ¶ 3, and the attorney should be allowed to consult with the respondent before the examination begins.

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