LSTD 503 WK6

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Question: Do you believe the right to counsel is a meaningful one, given the interpretation it has received by the Supreme Court? Is the definition of "effective assistance of counsel" too restrictive? Why or Why not? Use relevant case law to support your position. -- The right to counsel refers to the right of a criminal defendant to have a lawyer assist in their defense, even if they cannot afford to pay for the attorney (Legal Information Institute, n.d.). Without the assistance of an effective lawyer many individuals would run the risk of going to jail when charged with a crime. I would say not everyone knows what is and is not admissible in a court of law, let alone how to convince a jury of your peers that you are innocent of the crime you are being accused of. This right is protected by the Sixth Amendment, which gives defendants the right to legal counsel in federal prosecutions. At state level, this principle was not applied until Gideon v. Wainwright , 372 U.S. 335 (1963); however, certain misdemeanors do not guarantee the right to legal counsel. In my opinion, the right to counsel is meaningful as in the case of Brewer v. Williams , 430 U.S. 387 (1977). In this case, the Supreme Court held in a 5-4 decision that the right to legal counsel attaches at or after the time that judicial proceedings have been initiated, whether by formal charge, preliminary hearing, indictment, information, or arraignment. I do believe the definition of effective assistance of counsel is too restrictive because in the case of Strickland v. Washington , 466 U.S. 668 (1984), the Supreme Court ruled that in order to determine if a court appointed attorney has not provided a proper defense the defendant must (1) show that counsel fell below and objective standard of reasonableness and (2) to show prejudice, the defendant must show that there is a reasonable probability that if not for counsel the result would have been different (Strickland v. Washington, n.d.). I think it would be difficult to confirm if your defense counsel showed prejudice. Reference(s): Legal Information Institute. (n.d.). Right to Counsel. Legal Information Institute . https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/right_to_counsel#:~:text=The %20right%20to%20counsel%20refers,to%20counsel%20in%20federal %20prosecutions Strickland v. Washington. (n.d.). Oyez . Retrieved September 11, 2023, from https://www.oyez.org/cases/1983/82-1554
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