Tag: right to counsel

Cohen: The Lies We Tell Each Other About the Right To Counsel

Clarence Earl Gideon in 1963

By Alan Bean

Fifty years ago, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Gideon v. Wainwright theoretically gave criminal defendants an iron-clad right to effective legal representation.  But Andrew Cohen of the Brennan Center for Justice says it’s a lie.  Everything was fine until America raced headlong into a self-destructive tango with mass incarceration.  Suddenly, there were so many cases at bar that we faced a choice: either pump millions of dollars into the indigent defense system or whittle away at Gideon until the ostensible right to the services of a good lawyer meant next to nothing.  Guess which way we moved? (more…)