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Right to Counsel Clause of the Sixth Amendment

NCJ Number
American Criminal Law Review Volume: 26 Issue: 4 Dated: (Spring 1989) Pages: 1599-1616
L S Fulton
Date Published
18 pages
This analysis of the history and judicial decisions relating to the Sixth Amendment guarantee of the right to counsel focuses on issues that are likely to arise in the future.
The incorporation of the right to counsel into the Constitutional amendments reflected the desire to correct the inadequacies of the English criminal justice system of the 17th century, in which the right to counsel was not granted to all accused persons. In the Gideon v. Wainwright decision in 1963, the United States Supreme Court held that the Sixth Amendment right to counsel is incorporated into the Fourteenth Amendment and is therefore binding on both Federal and State courts. Further decisions established guidelines regarding the constitutional right to counsel at different phases of criminal proceedings. The Supreme Court has also recognized that certain judicial actions amount to a denial of the right to counsel and require declaration of a mistrial or reversal of a conviction. Likely future issues relate to the asset forfeiture provisions of recent Federal laws, the right to counsel of choice, and the effectiveness of the assistance of counsel. 149 references.


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