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Video script:

Police officer #1: sir, you are under arrest for burglary. You have the right to remain silent. If you
do or say anything, it can be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to have a
lawyer present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for
you if you so desire.
Police officer #2: Did you rob the bank?
Prisoner: I dont have to say anything without my lawyer present
Police officer #1: Well where is your lawyer?
Prisoner: Not sure. I dont have one. I dont exactly have the money to hire one.
Police officer #2: You know, the state is required to provide you with a lawyer in the case that
you cannot afford one it's called the right to counsel.
Prisoner: Really? Thank god. I would be without representation otherwise. Just wondering, has
it always been this way? Have people always been promised a lawyer?
Police officer #1: Hey, dont stall. We still have to do our questioning.
Prisoner: Dont you think it's important that I understand my rights?
Police officer #2: Fine. Well if it were before 1963 you wouldnt have been required to be
provided with representation. You see, the 6th amendment in the Bill of Rights states that
everyone has the right to counsel, however, these amendments only applied on a federal level.
State governments were not required.
Prisoner: Okay that makes sense. But what happened in 1963?
Police officer #1: Well let's backtrack a little. In 1942, a very important case occured called Betts
v. Brady. Betts was being tried for committing robbery in the state of Maryland however he could
not afford an attorney and when he asked the state court for one to be appointed to him, they
denied him any counsel. Betts felt that this was unjust and took it up with the Supreme Court. In
the end, they ruled that an attorney should only be required in cases of rape and murder or
when the death penalty is a possibility.
Prisoner #2: Woah. I cant imagine our government making that kind of ruling.
Police officer: Yeah well it didnt last for too long because in 1963, a pivotal case occured in the
Supreme Court that gave you the right to an attorney today.
Prisoner: Wait I think ive heard of this. Gary v. Writer?
Police officer #1: Close. Gideon v. Wainwright. This case set precedent for all future cases and it
overturned the Supreme Courts ruling of the Betts v. Brady case in 1942.
Prisoner: Can they do that? Can they just change their mind like that?
Police officer #2: Yeah of course! Its their jobs to make the government system as fair as
possible and if they need to make adjustments, then they do. So basically in this case, a man
named Clarence Gideon committed burglary in Florida but for his trial, he could not afford a
lawyer. He asked a judge to appoint one for him and argued that it should be provided via the
6th amendment. His request was denied and he was forced to defend himself. Having no
background in law, he lost the case. However while serving his sentence, Gideon studied law
and handwrote a letter to the Supreme Court asking them to hear his case and the court
They decided that people who cannot afford to hire a lawyer must be provided one on the
federal, and state level. And this brings us to today where 75% of the accused request a public

Prisoner: Sorry what's a public defender?

Police officer #1: That's the name for the lawyers that the state provides.
Prisoner: Oh so what Ill be getting. Are they good lawyers?
Police office #2r: Because there is such a high demand for them, public defenders go through
approximately 350 cases per year. And just last week I heard that in Fresno county, defenders
work on 1000 cases a year, 3 cases per day, even though state guidelines say they shouldnt be
doing more than 150. I mean, caseloads that heavy cant possibly put together a solid defense.
In New Orleans, the lawyers are limited to seven minutes per case. Imagine that.
Prisoner: So how am I being provided a fair trial?
Police officer #1: Well theres a lot of controversy about that. Because at the same time, you are
still better off with state-provided representation than no representation at all
Prisoner: I guess thats true. Still kind of concerning though. There is no chance that I could be
denied representation right?
Police officer #2: Actually in 2010, a man named George Huguely was was sentenced to 23
years in prison last year for the May 2010 second-degree murder of Love, his former girlfriend
while he was heavily intoxicated. During the trial, the judge had the case go forward when one
of his lawyers became ill and could not attend. Huguely was upset with the representation that
was left after his one lawyer left and felt that he wasnt getting the opportunity for a fair trial.
Huguely was angered and stated that his 6th amendment fundamental freedom was violated.
Prisoner: Wow that is definitely not right. While you were speaking you mentioned fundamental
freedoms. What are those?
Police officer #1: These are the indisputable freedoms that every US citizen has the right to
exercise. They are the ones listed in the Bill of Rights and include freedom of conscience and
religion; freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and
other media of communication; freedom of peaceful assembly; and.freedom of association.
Prisoner: So how well are we respecting this fundamental freedoms today if incident like the one
that happened to Huguely occur?
Police officer #2: That's where the controversy lies. Its like while everyone has the right to a
public defender, to what extent are we fulfilling this?
Prisoner: I see. Hey, I think I'd like my lawyer now.
Police office #1r: I will arrange for that now.