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Assistance of Counsel Clause in the Year 2000

NCJ Number
Criminal Law Bulletin Volume: 25 Issue: l Dated: (January-February 1989) Pages: 86-112
W W Greenhalgh
Date Published
27 pages
Since 1932 when the U.S. Supreme Court held that indigent defendants in capital cases had a right to the assistance of court-appointed counsel, the Court has defined, redefined, and expanded this right in numerous cases involving the pretrial and trial stages of criminal proceedings.
It is likely that the Court will be pressured to extend this right into additional areas in the future. The inevitable increase in defendants receiving the death penalty will concomitantly add to the number of Federal and State habeas corpus petitions, and the Court inevitably will have to decide if such petitioners have a right to counsel in their post-conviction proceedings. Increasing calls for grand jury reform and the annual introduction of bills authorizing the presence of an attorney in the grand jury room in an advisory capacity will require the Court to reassess the grand jury's position as a critical stage in a criminal proceeding. Further, the Court will have to examine the forfeiture provisions of the Racketeering and Corrupt Organizations statute and the Continuing Criminal Enterprises statute to determine if Congress intended to exempt legitimate attorneys' fees and, if not, whether the statutes can withstand constitutional challenge. Other right-to-counsel issues to be considered include standards for evaluating waivers of the right and those concerning ineffective counsel. A commentary is provided. 166 footnotes.