Criminal Justice: Rising to the Defense

For 173 years the Sixth Amendment has guaranteed that every person accused of a crime shall have "the assist ance of counsel for his defense." Yet millions of Americans have been largely or wholly deprived of that right. For one thing, the Sixth Amendment was long held to apply only to the federal courts. State courts were allowed to settle for lower standards, and the poverty of most criminal defendants only made matters worse. Each year 300,000 persons are charged with serious crimes in state courts, said a recent American Bar Association report. "At least half of these persons...

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