Since Gideon v. Wainwright was decided in 1963, the Supreme Court has granted certiorari in several cases, further defining the contours of the Sixth Amendment guarantee of the right to counsel. This section of the research guide will focus on the right to the appointment of counsel.
The following West Topic and Key Numbers are useful for finding case law and various secondary sources:
"An attorney appointed by the court to represent a person, usu. an indigent person."
Black’s Law Dictionary 139 (9th ed. 2009).
ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 6.1 is relevant to the current debate surrounding the inadequacy of funding for public defenders and court appointed attorneys after Gideon.
"A lawyer should aspire to render at least (50) hours of pro bono publico legal services per year." Model Rules of Prof’l Conduct R. 6.1 (2012).
On April 29, 2013, in Boyer v. Louisiana, the Supreme Court considered “[w]hether a state’s failure to fund counsel for an indigent defendant for five years, particularly where failure was the direct result of the prosecution’s choice to seek the death penalty, should be weighed against the state for speedy trial purposes." Although the Supreme Court dismissed the writ of certiorari as improvidently granted, Boyer highlights the recent criticism of Gideon as an "underfunded mandate."
Boyer v. Louisiana, No. 11-9953, 2013 WL1788077 (U.S. Apr. 29, 2013) (per curiam).