The right to counsel exists under the Sixth Amendment. The way in which that right applies to indigent defendants has been the subject of extensive litigation. Roots of the modern right to counsel for indigent defendants date back more than a century. Understanding line-drawing is very important. The line-drawing has evolved over time. A key starting point in determining when the right attaches is understanding what constitutes a critical stage. From there, an indigency determination must be made by the court within Sixth Amendment parameters.
In your main response, address the following:
- Summarize how the right to counsel has evolved at the state and federal levels through court interpretation of the Sixth Amendment.
- Explain the implications of failing to comply with the Sixth Amendment during a critical stage of the case process.
- Illustrate how philosophical underpinnings and public policy influenced the U.S. Supreme Court in key Sixth Amendment right-to-counsel decisions.