Criminal Defense is a Constitutional Right: Infographic
2013 marks the 50th anniversary of a landmark Supreme Court case: Gideon v. Wainright, a decision which established states' responsibilities to provide a lawyer for defendants who cannot afford one. The U.S. Constitution had first ensured the right of citizens to receive legal representation, but Gideon marked the legal requirement for states to give public defense to everyone, regardless of ability to pay.
Nationally, however, public defenders are struggling to keep up with their caseloads. In 2013 there is too much work, and too little time, for state attorneys to handle. Budget cuts have resulted in furloughs. One Ohio public defender even fired himself.