Indigent Defendants Should be Appointed Counsel at Bail or Pretrial Release Hearings, ABA Urges Maryland High Court
CHICAGO, Oct. 4, 2011 – The Maryland Court of Appeals should affirm appointment of counsel for indigent defendants at bail or pretrial release hearings, the American Bar Association urges in its amicus brief in Paul B. DeWolfe Jr. et al. v. Quinton Richmond et al.
The ABA brief offers three main arguments:
- Appointment of counsel for bail and pretrial release hearings is consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s “pragmatic and evolving approach” to the Sixth Amendment right to counsel.
- The ABA Criminal Justice Standards, which the Supreme Court has described as the “prevailing norms of practice,” are based on the consensus among judges, prosecutors and defense counsel that appointment of counsel at the earliest possible stage is a critical aspect of providing representation that is truly valuable and effective.
- Providing counsel to indigent defendants at bail and pretrial hearings is an evolving trend showing a growing consensus in the states and the federal government.
The brief is available here.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the world’s largest voluntary professional membership organization. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.
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