Denial Of Counsel Is Ruled Unconstitutional

1954

In Chandler v. Fretag, the defendant said he did not want an attorney when he appeared in court to plead guilty to a charge of breaking and entering. At that time, he was told for the first time that he faced a sentence of life in prison because of his criminal record. He requested a delay so he could consult a lawyer on the habitual criminal charge, but his request was denied. The U.S. Supreme Court reverses the denial, saying that it violated the defendant’s due process rights under the 14th Amendment.