The Right to Counsel Assistance Essay


Criminal justice procedure ensures that the rights of suspected criminals are not violated against. Different rules and regulations have been formulated in different jurisdictions to regulate the process of arresting and convicting criminals. It is therefore the duty of law enforcers to ensure that they conduct this process accordingly to promote human rights.

Treatment of Eye Witness Evidence

Eyewitness evidence, though technically reliable, often lead to a considerable number of wrongful convictions especially in America. It is therefore important for the law enforcers to adhere to the right procedure when obtaining the evidence from the eye witnesses (Anonymous, N. d). When interviewing the witnesses, law enforcers should ask open ended questions to widen the scope in which the witness can tell the story from his own point of view and in his own words and should refrain from that may prompt the witness to distort information (Anonymous, N. d). Investigators should also aim at building rapport with the witnesses as this will encourage the witness to give greater amounts of accurate information (Anonymous, N.d).

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In cases where the witness is required to identify suspects, the investigator should compile the mug book with great objectivity and ensure it contains every required detail that will make it easier for the witness to identify the suspect (Anonymous, N.d). The methods applied in identification of suspects by witnesses especially on line up can , fairness, and objectivity of the process and therefore should be handled carefully and investigators should strictly warn the witnesses against providing false information that often leads to wrongful convictions.

The Right to Counsel Assistance

Criminal procedure is characterized by complexities. Consequently, the law identifies various levels of investigation and adjudication in which the accused can seek assistance of a counsel (Bacigal, 2008). The sixth amendment of the United States constitution creates the provision for right to hire defense counsel by the accused since it is a fundamental right within the meaning of the fourteenth amendments due process clause (Bacigal, 2008).

Violation of this right often results in the reversal of the conviction. However, the right to hire counsel is limited to those with adequate assets to pay the expenses to the service. If the accused lacks the finances to hire or retain a counsel, he is declared indigent and he may be provided with counsel by the government which then becomes a civil liability (Bacigal, 2008).

The right to counsel representation attaches at the start of adversary judicial proceedings (Bacigal, 2008). At this point, the government has adequate basis to prosecute the defendant therefore exposing the defendant to constant confrontations with the prosecution. The right to counsel is applicable in cases where the accused is facing criminal charges and is of incarceration (Bacigal, 2008). This is applicable in both felonies and misdemeanors whereby the possibility of incarceration prompts the need to hire expert legal practitioner to assist the accused in his defense. On the other hand, misdemeanor cases do not require the accused to hire counsel if before trial the court informs that no confinement will be imposed (Bacigal, 2008).

The right to counsel is also upheld in pretrial proceedings that of the criminal justice system. In these cases, absence of counsel to represent the defendant may prejudice the accused (Bacigal, 2008) Right to counsel at other pretrial proceedings is a function of the occurrence of proceedings after the adversarial judicial process begins. However, the adversary judicial proceedings has not been clearly defined but the U.S supreme court defines it as commencement by way of formal charging of the accused, , indictment and arraignment in court (Bacigal, 2008).

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