Where Does the Right to An Attorney Come from?

Over a century ago, the Indiana Supreme Court in Webb v. Baird, 6 Ind. 13 (1853) , formally recognized the right to an attorney for a person accused of a crime.  However, the court did not base its decision on constitutional law.  Rather, it determined this right was grounded in "the principles of a civilized society." 

Since Baird, courts have vastly expanded the right to counsel beyond just appointing an indigent person a lawyer.  Specifically, a person has the right consult with an attorney, indigent or not, even before trial.  A person has a right to the assistance of counsel at any stage of an investigation or custody. 

In Arizona, the right to counsel comes from four sources.  First, the right to counsel was established in the United States Constitution.  The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution states: "No person shall...be deprived of of life, liberty, or property without due process of law..."  See also Fourteenth Amendment, U.S. Constitution.  Moreover, the Sixth Amendment provides: "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right...to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense."

Second, the right to counsel is also codified in Arizona's Revised Statutes.  Arizona Revised Statutes section 13-114 states: "In a criminal action [the] defendant is entitled...[t]o have counsel."


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