Why the United States Supreme Court Got Some [But Not a Lot] of the Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel Analysis Right
St. Thomas Law Review, Vol. 21, No. 2, p. 142, 2009
49 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2011
Date Written: 2009
In the past forty-five years, the United States Supreme Court has firmly established the right to lawyers for poor people in criminal cases. The right, arising under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, extends beyond trials, and includes assistance in addition to lawyers. The right to a lawyer is seen as central to our system of criminal justice. At the same time, the Justices' rulings here have been subject to sharp criticism in a host of areas relating to the stages of the proceedings to which the right applies, the failure to define indigency, and the refusal to monitor seriously the competency of lawyers in such cases.
In this article, Professor Marcus applauds the reach of some of the Court's decisions, but also seconds the critics who have questioned the limits of other decisions. In particular, he looks to the unfortunate determination that indigent criminal defendants are not entitled to the assistance of counsel in all prosecutions.
Keywords: poor, indigent, Sixth Amendment, assistance, trial, lawyer, right, competency, counsel
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