The 50 Year Anniversary of a defendant's constitutional right to counsel, begs the question.. has Gideon fulfilled its goals, do the indigent defendants get less justice than those who can afford to hire a lawyer? A half-century after Gideon v. Wainwright, many lawyers say the system for providing defense attorneys for the poor is in crisis.
"It is a vital constitutional right," Lefstein says. "It distinguishes us as a country. I happen to believe that the quality of justice in our courts says a lot about the kind of society we are."