Right to Counsel

The Right to Counsel refers to the legal conscientiousness for the government to offer each and every defendant in a criminal action with legal demonstration that must be also seen to be effectual. It is from such an observation that the Sixth Amendment to the United States provides that, in part, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right … to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.” This phrase provides to the accused the right to a legal representative from the minute one is taken into police detention (Garland, 2002).Right to Counsel

The resolutions of the U.S. Supreme Court have also interpreted this Right to Counsel Clause to signify that an insolvent, or indigent, defendant has the lawful right to the attendance of a court-selected trial lawyer at critical stages during criminal trial. These decisive junctures include sentencing, custodial interrogation, indictment, post-indictment lineups, preliminary hearings, trial, as well as the primary plea of conviction.

The origin and development of the Right to Counsel Clause was a reaction towards the harsh English law which was notorious in denying the defendants the help of an attorney, the English law required the defendant in any given trial to appear before the court and defend him or herself in ones own words. Pertaining to the US, the Right to Counsel was developed after Sixth Amendment was ratified in the wake of December 15, 1791. This amendment avers;

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

“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 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 defence”(Dickinson, 2007).

The aspects of the Right to Counsel is profoundly based on the provisions of having unbiased judiciary, more so, it provides a solid foundation by which individual rights are protected in case one is indicted. Thus, it can be stated that, this clause is a constitutional right which cannot be taken away, and each and every person accused is entitled to. Analysing this aspects, one cannot fail to understand that, the entire scope of Right to Counsel also prohibits in acts which can lead to violation of civil rights. And it’s from such an observation that courts are more than often are forced to provide this option to the defendant. While it is widespread, exercise to proffer counsel it is not for all time essential to retain it. In reality, for comparatively inconsequential violations such as traffic related infringements it may be advantageous to basically confer with with a legal representative or pay the fine pertaining on what consequence the outcome will have.

                                                The right to self-representation

          Self-Representation is equally an important right of the defendant, though it may not be the best choice or option to follow. It should be noted that, when an individual opts to represent himself more than often he or she is always wedged in a compromising situation pertaining to the nature of information available, and this infers that, most individual who pursue this option are constantly being denied a fair trial. Thus according to the scope and aspects of Criminal Justice System, self-representation is not recommendable, though it is there. Hence, The Honorable Jess H. Dickinson, regarding the right to Self-Representation asserted, “I think scores of lawyers, and law lords don’t attend to the poor and don’t see their problems for the reason that they don’t want to listen to them or see them. They don’t want to be told again of the tiresome truth that there are many unfortunate, weak, and helpless individuals plummeting through the cracks every single day.” (Dickinson, 2007)

The role of attorneys in the criminal justice system as it applies to right to counsel.

           The defense council’s task is to stand for the defendant in all criminal judicial proceedings. While the legal representative duty is to assure that all of the constitutional rights pertaining to the accused are upheld all through the criminal justice procedures. This may includes arguments that dispute whether plausible cause has been recognized, that the Miranda counsel was appropriately administered, and to pledge that the reprobate is set for a fair trial.
What should be underlined pertaining to the duties of the attorneys in relation to the Right to Counsel is that,defense legal representatives are sworn so as to defend the complainant to the best of their capabilities and abilities no matter the nature of the real guilt or blamelessness. This scope actually does not endear the task of defense attorneys to the populace, in particular when an apparent guilt individual is released or cleared of wrong doing by the courts. Despite such a twist, each and every individual is provided with this protection and there may come a time when an individual may require this same defense. Thus, the work Prosecuting Attorneys is to offer verification and persuade a jury of a defendant’s culpability. When both of these obligations are filled satisfactorily, it assists in ensuring that justly equal justice is provided to all implicated.

An accused person basically is not guaranteed the help of counsel until the criminal prosecution is cited or brought against the defendant. Therefore, the right to counsel do not necessary attach until official charges are instigated against the defendant.

For instance, the right to counsel does not append to a pre-condemnation arrangement. Nevertheless, if the indicted person is in detention and is subjected to interrogation by the law enforcement personnel, the defendant has a right to counsel to shield his or her right in opposition to self incrimination under the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution. The Fifth Amendment right to counsel attaches when an examination procedure turns to be accusatory and when it starts to center on the indicted person.

After the accused has been incriminated with an transgression, the accused right to counsel does not hold to the defendant’s preliminary appearance before a judge if the court simply directs the accused of his or her right to counsel and of his or her subsequent rights (Neocleous,2004). On the other hand, the defendant right to counsel attaches if financial guarantee is set, if the defendant enters a plea, or if a preliminary hearing on the charges occurs. A defendant’s right to counsel may also attach to a pretrial altercation involving the defendant and the tribunal if the attendance of counsel is indispensable to maintain the accused rights. If any chauvinism to the defendant possibly will be shunned by the attendance of counsel, the defendant is at liberty to advice at the pretrial altercation.


Garland, D.(2002). Crimes and Criminals. London: OUP.

Hess, J.Dickinson. (2007, February 1). self-represented litigants. Retrieved from http://www.ajs.org/prose/South%20Central%20Notebook%20Contents/Pro%20Se%20Speech%20Dickinson.pdf

Neocleous, M. (2004).  Social Order. London: Pluto.



I'm Niki!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out