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Choice Right: The Assistance of Counsel

NCJ Number
Prosecutor Volume: 23 Issue: 2 Dated: (Fall 1989) Pages: 29-36
J M Miller
Date Published
8 pages
This article discusses the phases of prosecution where the right to counsel attaches and to what degree.
The fifth amendment prohibition against self-incrimination carries a right to counsel that attaches at custodial interrogation to ensure the right to silence. Once a suspect has been arraigned, then the sixth amendment assistance-of-counsel clause attaches. Suspects must be told they have the right to counsel and cannot be questioned unless they knowingly and intelligently waive that right. A formally arrested defendant does not per se have the right to counsel present at pretrial identification procedures. The right to counsel at pretrial identification attaches after the accused appears before a judicial officer. There is a right to have an attorney appointed for indigents at their trials, and non-indigents have a right to use the counsel of their choice. The indigent's right to counsel continues from trial through the first appeal. The right to counsel requires that the counsel provide effective assistance. This right may be violated when one attorney attempts to represent more than one codefendant on the same charge either at the same or different trials.