Who are the Indigent and How Big is Their Right to Appointed Counsel?


There are assorted definitions for the word “indigent” provided by state and federal statutes and case law, but for purposes of discussing the constitutional right to have a lawyer appointed to represent an individual (whose fees are paid for by the government), the description found in Gideon works best, i.e., “any person too poor to hire a lawyer” is considered to be legally entitled to indigent defense representation. Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1961).

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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