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Your Right To Counsel Essay

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Counsel 1

Running Head: Counsel

Your Right To Counsel
CJA/353 Criminal Procedure
July 18, 2010
Garry Moore

Counsel 2

There have been many noted cases of defendant’s requesting and being approved to represent themselves in a court room. Unfortunately the percentages of these defendants’s losing their cases are greater than the ones that win their cases. Defendant’s reasons for opting in to self-representation vary from distrusting the system, the relationship with their court appointed attorney, or just believing that they could do a better job at representing themselves. There are many different aspects of representing a case in a court room from the language used by the criminal justice system, to obtaining the correct evidence, to examining a witness, to choosing a jury. Even the opening and closing arguments could make or break your case.
The Sixth Amendment to our constitution is one of the main sources of a defendant’s right to counsel. In the beginning, Attorney’s were not allowed in a Jury trial until the nineteenth century, these defendants had to defend themselves in a court of law. In 1695 the English law allowed its first Attorney in only treason trials. It was not until 1836 that Defendant’s were allowed to be represented by an Attorney in a felony trial. Even then the right to counsel only existed for those who could afford to pay for an Attorney. Those who could not pay for their own attorney would still have to represent themselves in court. According to Zalman M. (2008)., “Before the mid-twentieth century, the Sixth Amendment right to counsel meant that a court or statute could not abolish a defendant’s right to be represented in court by a paid, licensed lawyer of his choosing. At first, the right did not mean that the state had to pay for a defense lawyer. Until the early twentieth century, it was constitutionally acceptable for a poor person to defend himself
Counsel 3
without a lawyer in a felony...

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