When Does the Right to Counsel Attach?:
Tomorrow the Supreme Court will be holding oral argument in Rothgery v. Gillespie County (briefs here), a very interesting case on when an indigent criminal defendant gets a constitutional right to have an attorney appointed to represent him.

  Rothgery was arrested, held overnight, given a probable cause hearing, and then released on bail while the government decided whether to bring formal charges. Months later, he was indicted and given counsel; his lawyer got the charges dismissed because it turned out that Rothgery wasn't in fact a "felon" for purposes of a felon in possession law.

  Rothgery then brought a civil suit arguing that his constitutional rights had been violated when he was not provided counsel at the earlier stage. The Court has never clearly stated exactly when the constitutional right to counsel attaches in this sort of setting, mostly because Sixth Amendment cases typically arise in the context of a motion to suppress the defendant's statements and the defendant almost never makes statements at these early proceedings.

  I've just started reading the briefs, so I don't yet know where I come out. More soon, I hope.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Two Thoughts on Rothgery:
  2. When Does the Right to Counsel Attach?: