In the Matter of Civil Commitment of D.Y. (A-42-12; 071464)
The plain language of N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.29(c) and - 27.31(a) requires that there be one of two alternative forms of representation at SVP commitment hearings: (1) full representation by counsel, or (2) self- representation by an individual who is competent to conduct his or her case, with standby counsel present throughout the hearing to assist if needed. Standby counsel may advise the committee, assist the court in expediting the proceedings, and assume an active role if his or her client proves unwilling or unable to participate cooperatively in the hearing.