"The 'Right-to-Counsel Term',” an Issue Brief by Mary Schmid Mergler, Senior Counsel for the Criminal Justice Program at The Constitution Project, and Christopher Durocher, Government Affairs Counsel at The Constitution Project. In an increasingly complex criminal justice system, often defined by a disproportionate number of plea deals and the procedural hurdles of the appeals process, respecting the right to counsel afforded by the Sixth Amendment is essential for a fair and just system.
In “The Right-to-Counsel Term,” Mergler and Durocher preview the five cases before the Supreme Court in the 2011-2012 Term where the reach of the Sixth Amendment’s right to counsel will be considered. These cases present an opportunity for the court to “shape the Sixth Amendment right to counsel and related claims in such a way that recognizes the realities of our 21st century criminal justice system,” assert Mergler and Durocher. Such recognition is necessary, Mergler and Durocher argue, to take “steps in the direction of true justice.”