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The Right to Counsel
Transcript of The Right to Counsel
Supreme Court Powell v. Alabama Escobedo
Illinois Gideon v. Wainwright Impact and
Predictions The Sixth Amendment Right
to a Attorney: You can enjoy the right to the representation by a defense lawyer when on trial for a criminal offense. In 1854, Indiana became the first state to provide defense counsel in felony trials at the expense of the state for those who could not afford it, stating that this protection was a "principal of a civilized society." The Supreme Court recognized the right to a defense counsel in the event of a capital case. Clarence Earl Gideon was tried for breaking and entry, asked for counsel and was denied. Gideon was found guilty after poorly representing himself in court. He wrote to the Supreme Court, explaining his denial of counsel. The Supreme Court took interest in the case, appointing Abe Fortas as his appeal attorney. They also ruled that in all serious crimes, a defense counsel was necessary for a fair trial, and the state had to provide one if the defendant could not. Danny Escobedo was accused of the murder of his brother-in-law. He was appointed a defense counsel by the state; however, he was denied the opportunity to consult with him during the pretrial investigations. Escobedo, lacking consultation when being interrogated and not informed of his right to remain silent, was tricked into a confession after well over 15 hours of questioning. Escobedo appealed to the Supreme Court, believing that he had the right to consult his attorney during interrogations. The main constitutional argument was whether or not the sixth amendment guaranteed the right to counsel during interrogations and other pretrial events. Other arguments included: Other Arguments Included:
In order that counsel be effective, they must be present when needed
This would cause trials to rely on vigorous investigations rather than potentially false confessions gathered through abuse or bullying
This would cut down the amount of confessions, perhaps erasing them completely
Police officers would be less efficient at putting away criminals, resulting in the release of actually guilty persons and a resulting in a large decrease in the safety of society In a 5 to 4 decision, the Supreme Court declared that the Sixth Amendment guaranteed a right to counsel during interrogation. THE END The Supreme Court decision in all these cases, especially Escobedo v. Illinois, greatly expanded the rights of defendants in criminal cases. They brought are judicial system further to a fair and civilized method of trials. The decision further strengthened America's stand on innocent until proven guilty. I predict that further changes will be made to our judicial system that protect the rights of the defendant. After all, the philosophy used by the founding fathers when drafting was not only to punish ne'er do wells, but also protect the innocent who are wrongfully accused. They believed in the maxim of English law set in the fifteenth century, "one would rather twenty guilty individuals should escape punishment... than one innocent person should be condemned." Citations: