HJohnston- Right to Counsel -Unit 7

HJohnston- Right to Counsel -Unit 7 - Running Head LS305...

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Running Head: LS305 UNIT 7 – RIGHT TO COUNSEL 1 LS305- Unit 7 Assignment – Right to Counsel Heather Johnston Kaplan University October 10, 2016
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LS305 UNIT 7 – Right to Counsel 2 Right to Counsel The Founding Fathers of the United States of America knew that it was time to break free from Great Britain. They wanted to live a life free of oppression and to live a life of freedom. When they set out to create our great nation they knew that English Law would be the basis for American Law. The American colonies practiced law like the English did, so most of them did not allow the right to counsel. In England, if someone was charged with a felony, they were not allowed to hire a private attorney. It was not until the Glorious Revolution in 1688, that Parliament passed a law for people that had been charged with treason. This law allowed them to hire an attorney to represent them. Unfortunately, this law did not extend to other crimes committed. Even before the United States Constitution was adopted, the words “the right to counsel” could be found in the American colonies constitutions dating back to 1776, although it was not always used ( Powell v. Alabama (1932) ). By the time the Revolutionary war was taking place, it was of popular opinion of educated, higher class Americans, that anyone who has the funds to do so, should be able to hire an attorney for any type of crime. American’s were also feeling that the United States Constitution was not fully protecting their civil rights. So on December 15, 1791, after James Madison proposed twenty amendments to the Constitution, the first ten amendments of the Constitution became law. This is known as the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights brought an amendment that is believed to hold one of the most protected rights for the citizens of the United States, the Sixth Amendment (Revolutionary War and Beyond, 2008). The Sixth Amendment states, “ In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been
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LS305 UNIT 7 – Right to Counsel 3 committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.” ( sixthamendment.org, 2016). In today’s modern judicial system, the Right to Counsel Clause takes effect immediately when a criminal case begins. In the early 1930’s, courts began to see that defendants were receiving unfair trials due to disadvantages. Defendants were being When the Founding Fathers wrote the Right to Counsel Clause, it was to allow a person that has been charged with a crime the ability to hire an attorney if they have the available funds.
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