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Student Project: Right to Counsel: Overview

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

Author and About

Authored by Jaclyn Weissgerber - J.D. Candidate 2014, Pace University School of Law

This research guide facilitates the analysis of the Sixth Amendment right to assistance of counsel using: 

  • U.S. Constitution 
  • Case Law
  • Briefs
  • Oral Arguments
  • Secondary Sources
  • News Sources

It should be noted that although there are various criminal procedure implications of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, this research guide will focus primarily on the constitutional aspects.  

What is the Right to Counsel?

"A criminal defendant's constitutional right, guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment, to representation by a court-appointed lawyer if the defendant cannot afford to hire one."

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

Related Research Guides

Origin of the Right to Counsel

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and the cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense."

U.S. Const. amend. VI (emphasis added)

The Sixth Amendment ultimately guarantees to every indigent criminal defendant the Right to Counsel. The Supreme Court jurisprudence has held that the Right to Counsel is comprised of both the right to the appointment of counsel and the right to the effective assistance of counsel. 


Sixth Amendment