The Right To Counsel Is Not Dependent On The Ability To Pay

1963

Since 1938 the Supreme Court has ruled that the government has to provide counsel for defendants in federal court trials who cannot afford to pay for one. But the Court does not extend this right to state trials until the landmark case of Gideon v. Wainwright. In Argersinger v. Hamlin (1972), the Court extends its Gideon ruling by specifying that a defendant found guilty, whether of a misdemeanor or a felony, cannot be sentenced to jail time unless offered an attorney at trial.