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Student Project: Right to Counsel: Appointment of Counsel

This research guide facilitates the analysis of the 6th Amendment, right to assistance of counsel.

Post-Gideon Decisions

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. 

Pre-Gideon Decisions

Topic and Key Numbers

The following West Topic and Key Numbers are useful for finding case law and various secondary sources:

92 Constitutional Law 
92k2310 Rights to Open Courts, Remedies and Justice - In General 
92k2318 Right to Obtain Justice 
110 Criminal Law
110k251 Rights of Accused in General 
110k1712 Offenses, Tribunals and Proceedings Involving Right to Counsel - In General
110k1717 Stage of Proceeding as Affecting Right
110k1750 In General; Right to Appear Pro Se
110k1840 Public Defenders - In General 
110k1850 Deprivation or Allowance of Counsel - In General 

What is Assigned Counsel?

"An attorney appointed by the court to represent a person, usu. an indigent person."

Black’s Law Dictionary 139 (9th ed. 2009). 

Model Rules of Professional Conduct

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. 

Rule 6.1

"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).

Related Sixth Amendment Issues

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).