State Constitutions and Criminal Justice

By Barry Latzer | Go to book overview

Appendix D
A Note on the Right to Counsel Provisions of the U.S. and the State Constitutions

The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution establishes a right to the assistance of counsel, but only ten state provisions use this language. Hawaii and Louisiana are among them, but they add an explicit right to state-appointed attorneys for indigents. Louisiana is also unique in establishing an express right to the assistance of counsel for arrest or detention. Eighteen states prefer the right to appear and defend or, simply, to defend by counsel. Nineteen have chosen the right to be heard by counsel. Maryland Declaration of Rights article 21 declares that counsel is "allowed," and North Carolina article I, § 23, affords the right to "have" counsel. Georgia article I, § 1, ¶, 12, assures the right to "prosecute or defend" by counsel, and article I, § 1, ¶, 14, establishes a defendant's "privilege and benefit of counsel." Virginia is the only state without a right to counsel provision.


Federal Model

U.S. Const. amend. VI: "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall . . . have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence."

The following state provisions use language identical or nearly identical to the federal assistance of counsel clause: Alaska Const art. I, § 11; Cal. Const. art. I, § 15; Haw. Const. art. 1, § 14; Iowa Const. art. I, § 10; La. Const. art. I, § 13; Mich. Const. art. I, § 20; Minn. Const. art. I, § 6; N.J. Const. art. I, § 10; R.I. Const. art. I, § 10; W. Va. Const. art. III, § 14.


State Provisions Establishing a Right to Appear and/or Defend by Counsel

Ariz. Const. art. II, § 24; Colo. Const. art. II, § 16; Ga. Const. art. I, § 1, ¶ 12; Idaho Const. art. I, § 13; Ill. Const. art. I, § 8; Kan. Bill of Rights § 10; Mo. Const. art. I, § 18(a); Mont. Const. art. II, § 24; Neb. Const. art. I, § 11; Nev. Const. art. I, § 8; N.M. Const. art. II, § 14; N.Y Const. art. I, § 6; N.D. Const. art. I, § 12; Ohio Const. art. I, § 10; S.D. Const. art. VI, § 7; Utah Const. art. I, § 12; Wash. Const. art. I, § 22; Wyo. Const. art. I, § 10.

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