What is the Defense Delivery System?
The federal courts are required by law to adopt a local plan for providing counsel to indigent defendants. The mandate is enshrined in the Criminal Justice Act, 18, U.S.C § 3006A, which Congress enacted in 1964. The primary requirement is for the appointment of “private attorneys.”
However, it also allows almost all districts to add an alternative delivery system to ensure adequate representation of defendants. Knowing your legal representation rights is crucial if you’re facing criminal charges. A professional criminal defense law firm in Colorado will take you through the three defense systems: assigned counsel, contract systems, and public defense.
Under the Act, the most exclusive or almost-exclusive provider of government-funded representation is utilizing the public or community defender organization. It continues to state that the appointment of private attorneys shall be in a substantial portion of the cases.
1. What is Assigned Counsel?
An assigned counsel is a lawyer appointed by the court to provide legal representation for any accused person who cannot afford to hire a criminal defense attorney in Colorado Springs. The lawyers are private lawyers, also known as state-appointed attorneys, and are assigned specific cases. Unlike public defenders, attorneys are not given permanent office by the state.
Additionally, they are not state employees, so they don’t have a regular salary. They only counsel people who can’t afford a lawyer in states without public defenders. Under the Sixth Amendment, all accused people in criminal cases have the right to defense counsel.
Eligibility to Have an Assigned Counsel
When brought before a judge for a hearing, the judge will ask you if you want to hire an attorney privately or have an assigned counsel for your defense. Before you can qualify for access to an assigned counsel, you must meet two criteria:
- Be facing criminal charges that carry the potential for jail time upon conviction
- Prove that you’re unable to afford legal counsel by divulging your financial information to verify the situation
Your Legal Rights to an Assigned Counsel
The assigned counsel defense system has its foundation in the landmark case of Gideon vs. Wainwright in 1963. Carl Gideon was a small-time criminal convicted of burglary. He had requested an attorney during the trial as he couldn’t afford one, but the judge turned down the request.
He got a five-year sentence, which he later appealed to the Supreme Court without a lawyer. The Supreme court asserted that his Sixth Amendment right had been violated, and the ruling increased and mandated states to provide representation for criminal charges with potential imprisonment as a punishment.
Duration and Substitution of Assigned Counsel
Once counsel is appointed for you, you are entitled to representation at every stage of the proceedings. Starting from your initial appearance before the court, the criminal defense lawyer in Colorado Springs should provide defense on every ancillary matter appropriate to the proceedings, right through appeal if the case goes that way.
The court can terminate the appointment of counsel or authorize you to pay for the services if it finds that you can make legal representation payments. On the other hand, if you cannot pay a lawyer you had retained, it may appoint counsel to represent you.
2. What Are Contract Defense Systems?
States often struggle to provide effective representation for indigent defendants, yet the caseloads continue to increase. States and municipalities employ various contract defense systems in response to the need to provide counsel as mandated by the Constitution.
The concept entails a jurisdictional determination of various factors, such as the types of cases that qualify for contracting, the payment method, and the rate per case. Defense attorneys in Colorado Springs who win the contracts become contractors under the contracts with the state or municipality.
3. What Are Public Defenders?
A public defender is an attorney who provides legal representation for people facing criminal charges. The office is well-defined under the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution and often constitutes a chief public defender and a number of assistant public defenders.
The federal government pays the public defender to provide representation services. They’re well-versed with the court system in the specific area of criminal defense. That’s because they spend a lot of time negotiating with prosecutors and managing court appearances.
Eligibility for Representation by Public Defender
Eligibility to a public defender depends on the type of crime and varies from state to state. In most cases, you’re required to provide your financial information under oath for the court to determine if you qualify. Despite eligibility, you don’t have a right to an individually-chosen public defender.
The judge will handle the process of appointing the public defender to represent you, and the officer will make the final decision. Several factors come into play in making the determination, such as the attorneys available in Colorado Springs to handle the specific area of law concerning your case.
The Legal Right to Public Defenders
The government pays to defend people accused of a crime because the Constitution ensures everyone has access to a fair trial. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused must have the assistance of counsel for their defense. The Supreme Court rules that this right is applied to the states through due process.
An Experienced Attorney Aggressively Defending Your Rights
Legal representation is crucial when facing criminal charges to ensure a fair trial. However, you may not be able to afford private legal representation, and that’s why the government provides access to a public defender or assigned counsel. These experts provide legal representation without paying from your pocket, but only if you are eligible for the services.
Our law firm provides legal representation for clients facing criminal charges. We can thoroughly investigate the circumstances around your case and look for factors that we can use to your benefit. If you are having challenges accessing a lawyer, talk to us. We are ready to help.