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Bill of Rights: Right to Counsel

Which "Bill of Rights" amendment provides the accused person the right to counsel? Why did the founding fathers feel it important to include this provision into the "Bill of Rights"? What happens if the accused person does not want to invoke the right to counsel? Explain in a 200 word essay.

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The 6th amendment provides the accused person the right to counsel.

At the time of the American Revolution, the concept of the rights of the accused had progressed much further than in Great Britain. If we look at the first state laws passed after the American Revolution of 1776, we find a surprisingly modern list of rights, which included a right to reasonable bail, the exclusion of confessions made out of court, the right to know the charges, grand jury indictments in capital cases, trial by jury, and others, many of which would eventually be included in the Bill of Rights (1791). But the Bill of Rights applied only to the federal government until the 1920s, and criminal cases were for the most part tried in state courts under state law. The result was that in the early 20th century there were two separate systems of criminal procedure in the United States.

On the one hand, there were a small number of federal crimes (that is, crimes defined by Acts of Congress), which would be investigated by the small force of federal investigators, and tried in federal courts under the strict requirements of the Bill of Rights. Moreover, relatively early on, if the defendant was too poor to hire a lawyer, the court would appoint one from the local bar to represent him. At least on the federal level, the notion that due process required a lawyer was well established by the early 20th century.

On the other hand, were the state courts, in which state crimes (defined by acts of the state legislature) were ...

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The bill of rights amendment that provides the accused person right to counsel.