University of Pittsburgh

David Harris on Why the Right to the Assistance of Counsel Requires More Than "a Warm Body in a Suit"

Publish Date/Time: 
April 3, 2012

Professor David Harris wrote an op-ed piece for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette concerning an incident in which a local judge attempted to force public defender lawyers to take the case of a defendant represented by another public defender who had not shown up for court.  The lawyers refused, and the judge dismissed the case.  Professor Harris wrote that "the lawyers who refused...were correct. Demanding that a lawyer represent someone on the spot in a criminal matter shows a profound misunderstanding of the law, the legal profession and the seriousness of criminal charges."  The Sixth Amendment's Right to the Assistance of Counsel calls for more than just "a warm body in a suit."


See the Post-Gazette op-ed here.

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