Right to Adequate Defense

Every person accused of a crime has the right to the best possible defense that circumstances will allow.The 6th Amendment says that a defendant has the right (1) to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, (2) to be confronted with the witnesses against him and question them in open court, (3) to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor (that is, favorable witnesses can be subpoenaed, or forced to attend, and (4) to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

These key safeguards apply in the federal courts.Still, if a State fails to honor any of them, the accused can appeal a conviction on grounds that the 14th Amendmentís Due Process Clause has been violated.Remember that the Supreme Court protected the right to counsel in Gideon v. Wainwright, in 1963; the right of confrontation in Pointer v Texas, 1965 and the right to call witnesses in Washington v. Texas, 1967.

These guarantees are intended to prevent the cards from being stacked in favor of the prosecution.One of the leading right-to-counsel cases, Escobedo v. Illinois, 1964, illustrates this point.

Chicago police picked up Danny Escobedo for questioning in the death of his brother-in-law.On the way to the police station, and then while he was being questioned there, he asked several times to see his lawyer.The police denied these requests.They did so even though his lawyer was in the police station and was trying to see him, and the police knew his lawyer was there.Through a long night of questioning Escobedo made several damaging statements.Prosecutors later used those statements in court as a major part of the evidence that led to his murder conviction.

The Supreme Court ordered Escobedo freed from prison four years later.It held that he had improperly denied his right to counsel.

In Gideon v. Wainwright, 1963, the Court held that an attorney must be furnished to a defendant who cannot afford one.In many places, a judge still assigns a lawyer from the local community, or a private legal aid association provides counsel.

Since Gideon, however, a growing number of States, and many local governments, have established tax-supported public defender offices.In 1970, Congress authorized the appointment of federal public defenders or, as an alternative, the creation of community legal services financed by federal grants.

Compare and contrast Escobedo v. Illinois with Gideon v Wainwright.How did the verdict in Escobedo v. Illinois impact the 6th Amendment rights of the accused?How were these rights further refined in Gideon v. Wainwright?

Use a Double Bubble Map.