Monday, June 23, 2008

Supreme Court Rules On Right To a Lawyer

Walter Rothgery had moved to Gillespie County, Texas for a new job. He had only been in Texas for three weeks with his wife when he was arrested and charged with carrying a gun as a convicted felon. He posted the only money he had, $500, to bail himself out of jail. By being charged with such a serious offense, he was unable to find a job. Six months later he was indicted by a grand jury, his bond tripled and found himself locked up in the county jail. The only problem was that the computer used by the local police had made a mistake and Walter Rothgery did not have a felony record. A sympathetic local jail guard hired an attorney for Walter and the attorney was able to show that his client did not have a criminal record and his client was released from jail after the charges were dropped. However, Walter Rothgery's life was in shambles after such a horrible ordeal.

Walter Rothgery sued Gillespie County claiming that they failed to provide an attorney for him at the beginning. If Gillespie County had provided him with an attorney, the attorney would have been able to determine that a mistake was made and he would not have been incarcerated. Texas is one of the few states that does not provide attorneys to indigent defendants from the beginning of the process. In an 8 to 1 decision, the United States Supreme Court held that the Sixth Amendment Right to a Lawyer begins the minute a defendant appears in court because the adversarial process starts at that moment.

This decision affirms the sanctity of the Sixth Amendment Right to a Lawyer.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

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