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The Right to Appointed Counsel: Argersinger and Beyond

By Steven B Duke


Half a generation ago the Supreme Court in Gideon v. Wainwright found the Sixth Amendment right to counsel \u22fundamental and essential to a fair trial.\u22 Mr. Justice Black, speaking for an unanimous Court, referred to lawyers as \u22necessities, not luxuries.\u22 He said the \u22noble ideal\u22 of fair trials \u22cannot be realized if the poor man charged with crime has to face his accusers without a lawyer to assist him,\u22 and declared that \u22any person hauled into court, who is too poor to hire a lawyer, cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel is provided for him.\u22 One might therefore have expected per curiam reversals, following Gideon, of criminal convictions where assistance of counsel was denied. Instead, several courts upheld such convictions for\u27misdemeanors, and the Court repeatedly denied certiorari

Topics: Law
Publisher: Yale Law School Legal Scholarship Repository
Year: 1975
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