According to the sixth amendment of the US Supreme Court, the defendant is permitted to be represented by an attorney he or she wishes or else represent himself. On the other hand, a court could deny this right to the defendant when the court considers that a defendant is incompetent to the right to counsel. Initially, this article was not taken like the state’s requirement. It, however, started to follow the article after Powell v. Alabama case. Any case that requires capital and the defendant is incapable of employing counsel, or defending himself, the court has the duty to assign a counsel, whether appealed or not.
In Powell’s case of 1933, nine African-American men who boarded a train fought with a group of white men in the train. The nine, were later taken into custody for raping two white women in the train, despite doctors’ testimony of not getting any evidence of rape after examining the white women. During the trial, they had no attorney to represent them and finally received the death penalty. The main significance of this case is that it made the Court understands that it is required to grant defense attorney in trials that need capital.
In Gideon case, he was accused of breaking into the pool hall in Florida, a panama city, and stole money from a vending machine of the hall. Since he was unable to afford a lawyer, he requested the court to appoint an attorney to represent. The in Florida told him that an attorney is only appointed when the defendant is poor and has received a penalty death since it was a state court. After his sentence of five years, he filed a petition for unjust imprisonment, and this helped revive the Powell’s clause that defendant, unable to hire a lawyer, should be assigned an attorney to represent them even in state courts.
In Gerald case, who was a juvenile, had received a sentence of six years because of making obscene phone calls. He was not entitled to this right since he was not an adult which would be a sentence of two months or fifty dollars. Appellants challenged the Arizona juvenile code and used the procedure in Gerald case. The significance of the case was to include the juvenile in the clause of the US sixth amendment on legal counsel.
In Argersinger case, he was accused of carrying a hidden weapon, the offense which carried a penalty of equal to six months custody and a fine $1000. He received a sentence of ninety days after being found guilty, since he had no counsel to represent him. He took the action of habeas corpus for being deprived the right to counsel. The court was told to determine whether a person charged with such offence is entitled to a counsel for assistance. They found that this was applicable to all criminal offenses. The significance of this case was to show that all criminal offenses have the right to counsel and imprisonment is an achievable punishment.