No or UNKNOWN RISK
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ACCUSED DENIED ASSISTANCE of COUNSEL
Government has no power to denying you the counsel of choice, refuse to appointed you counsel if you need, force you to suffer counsel with a conflict of interest, oblige you to suffer incompetent counsel, nor prevent you from representing yourself if you so choose.
Before 1688, the English forbid felony defendants from benefiting from assistance of counsel, apart from procedural issues that arose during trial. After the Glorious Revolution, those accused of treason gained the right to counsel. Our founders extended the right to be heard through counsel to all felony cases. Corners have been cut on every one of these rights in our nation’s history.
When the Government can deny you the help of a lawyer after adversarial judicial proceedings begin, you are going to suffer. When it withholds counsel while the Government interrogates you, your chances of being set up grows. When it can prevent you from your choice of an available attorney who you can afford, it has its reasons and they are not good ones for you. When it can force you to use a legal representative with a conflict of interest, your defense is compromised from the start. When you are incapable of adequately defending yourself, as nearly every non-lawyer facing modern criminal offenses is, compelling you to do so is obviously unfair. When you are too poor to hire counsel, or being prosecuted by crooks who know they can drain your personal wealth by making you defend an abusive charge, making you pay for your attorney is corrupt. When you are strong-armed into accepting incompetent representation, you might as well have pled guilty. And when you are able and willing to defend yourself, but are stopped from doing so, you are getting the shaft. Each of these practices is the feature of repression, an insult to liberty, and a matter you should guard against before it is you who is bearing it.
Our Founding Generation