The Argument for a Constitutional Right to Representation at Bail Hearings in All Criminal Cases in State Court

7118 Words Apr 3rd, 2016 29 Pages
THE ARGUMENT FOR A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO REPRESENTATION AT BAIL HEARINGS IN ALL CRIMINAL CASES IN STATE COURT The right to legal representation is generally accepted in the United States as a Constitutional right guaranteed to everyone. The Supreme Court promised the right to counsel to “ any person haled into court” in the infamous Gideon v Wainwright case. This case was instrumental in advancing the rights of indigent defendants through its proclamation that the Sixth Amendment right to counsel in criminal proceedings should also apply to State Courts. However, Gideon’s promise to counsel has yet to completely guarantee equal access to justice when first appearing at judicial proceedings in state courts. Although defendants who …show more content…
It is imperative that the Supreme Court rule on this matter and explicitly mandate that the States appoint legal counsel for indigent defendants at the initial appearance in order to ensure that the rights to liberty and counsel are protected for all, regardless of economic status.

A. The stages of criminal proceedings after arrest

In order to understand the significance of legal counsel at pretrial proceedings, it is important to understand the different stages of a criminal proceeding. An arrest is the first step in beginning criminal proceedings against a defendant. A suspect is then transported to a police station for booking. A prosecutor is then brought in to review the facts and police records and to determine if there is sufficient evidence to support probable cause and with which to proceed on. Although it would seem that prosecutor review at this stage would serve as an adequate filter to bad arrests or charges, a prosecutor usually has only a few days to file a complaint and thus these hurried decisions are not without error and commonly result in charges being modified, dropped, or added. Typically, a defendant will be entitled to appear before a magistrate or judge for a bail hearing within a few hours to a few days if the arrest occurs on a weekend day. At the initial appearance the judge does not listen to the facts of the case, rather the judge informs the defendant of the charge, the right to

Related Documents