Saturday, January 14, 2012

History of Right to Counsel

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Right to Counsel


· Powell v. Alabama


a) Court said 14th Amendment rights to due process were violated due to the failure of the trial courts to give reasonable time and opportunity to secure counsel.


b) Established principle that counsel was a fundamental right to due process in some state cases and set out list of special circumstances that could require a state to provide for counsel.


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· Johnson v. Zerbst


a) Court established right of indigent defendants to receive assistance of appointed counsel in all criminal proceedings in federal courts.


b) Assistance of counsel is one of the safeguards of the Sixth Amendment deemed necessary to insure fundamental human rights of life and liberty.


· Betts v. Brady


a) Court declined to extend the 6th Amendment right to counsel to state felony proceedings. Also stated the 14th Amendment due process doesn’t obligates the States to furnish counsel in any cases, only under certain circumstances�such as a mental disability or complex charges.


b) Refusal to appoint counsel for an indigent defendant charged with a


felony did not necessarily violate the Due Process Clause of the 14th


Amendment.


· Gideon v. Wainwright


a) Overruled Betts case.


b) Court stated “an indigent person accused of a serious crime was entitled to the appointment of defense counsel at state expense”.


c) Reasoning was indigent person w/o counsel can be put on trial on improper charges, convicted on minimal or irrelevant evidence and lack skills/knowledge to prepare defense. Even if not guilty, could face conviction w/o knowledge to show innocence.


· In re Gault


a) Court extended to children the same rights as adults by providing counsel to the indigent child charged in juvenile delinquency proceedings.


· Argersinger v. Hamlin


a) Court overturned Florida rule and extended right to counsel to all misdemeanor state proceedings when potential loss of liberty exists.


· Escobedo v. Illinois


a) Court said the polices denial of Escobedos right to counsel and their failure to inform him of his right to remain silent was unconstitutional. Futhermore, any statements made by a defendant who was not informed of his rights is inadmissible in court.


b) If the interrogation continues without the presence of an attorney and a statement is taken, a heavy burden rests on the government to demonstrate that the defendant knowingly and intelligently waived his privilege against self-incrimination and his right to retained or appointed counsel.


· Miranda v. Arizona


a) The Court said criminal suspects must be warned of their rights before they are questioned by police. These rights are the right to remain silent, to have an attorney present, and, if the suspect cannot afford an attorney, to have one appointed by the state. The police must also warn suspects that any statements they make can be used against them in court.


· Scott v. Illinois


a) Issue of the case dealt with the 6th and 14th Amendments and do they require the right of assistance of counsel in all cases.


b) The Court followed by stating the 6th and 14th said no indigent criminal defendant be sentenced to a term of imprisonment unless state has given right to appointed counsel in his defense.


c) If no possible prison term, then accused has no right to state appointed counsel. Incarceration is a severe sanction, warranting the extra constitutional protection.





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