Friday, August 5, 2011

Right to Assistance of Counsel: First Appeal

A criminal defendant's Sixth Amendment right to assistance of counsel has been extended by the U.S. Supreme Court to include representation during the first appeal after conviction. This stage is sometimes called the "appeal as a matter of right."

If You Cannot Afford to Hire an Attorney for a First Appeal

Just as with the right to assistance of counsel at earlier stages such as preliminary hearing and trial, the government appoints an attorney to represent any criminal defendant who cannot afford a lawyer for a first appeal. For any subsequent appeal, the person usually must pay to hire an attorney. In many states, however, public interest or civil rights groups sometimes represent convicted persons for free at subsequent appeals.

A person who has been convicted of a crime may have certain options for relief in both state and federal court.