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Possibility Of Jail Not Enough To Trigger Right To Counsel


In Scott v. Illinois, the U.S. Supreme Court clarifies its 1972 ruling in Argersinger v. Hamlin that a defendant who is convicted of a crime cannot be sentenced to jail unless he was offered the appointment of an attorney at trial. The Court says that in this case, in which the indigent defendant was not sentenced to jail even though it was one of several potential punishments, the state was not obligated under the Sixth Amendment to appoint counsel.