Right to counsel, indigent defense


“The Sixth Amendment stands as a constant admonition that if the constitutional safeguards it provides be lost, justice will not still be done.” The constitutional right to the assistance of counsel in criminal prosecutions is one of the many safeguards contained within the Sixth Amendment designed to protect the fundamental human rights of life and liberty. Unfortunately, for indigent defendants that safeguard of life and liberty operates as a mere platitude today. Stephen Bright, founder of the Southern Center for Human Rights, has bleakly summarized the crisis of indigent defense, noting that while the right to counsel is widely celebrated, it is not actually observed with equal force.