• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court held that indigent defendants have a constitutional right to be represented by counsel in federal criminal proceedings.

In examining an appeal of a person convicted of counterfeiting, the Supreme Court ruled, by a 6-2 margin, that the Sixth Amendment prohibits the federal government from depriving any person of life or liberty unless the person has or waives the assistance of counsel. In the case of an indigent defendant, therefore, the federal government has the obligation of appointing and paying for a competent attorney. The Johnson requirement was later extended to state criminal proceedings in Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) and Argersinger v. Hamlin (1972).Counsel, right toIndigent criminal defendants;Johnson v. Zerbst[Johnson v. Zerbst]Counsel, right to

Counsel, right to

Due process, procedural

Sixth Amendment

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