The sixth amendment guarantees that all those charged with a crime in which incarceration could result are entitled to legal representation whether or not they can afford to retain private counsel. Through legislation and adjudication, we have witnessed the establishment of rights for the criminally accused; rights which serve to vindicate the innocent and implicate the guilty.
The rights of the criminally accused are no longer being protected! In fact, these rights are being blatantly violated in favor of those who would see the criminally accused found guilty and incarcerated at any cost. This blatant violation is obvious by the failure to allocate resources for the defense of the accused while resources are readily allocated to police the streets and build prisons to house the convicted. Further, not only have legislatures ignored their sixth amendment obligations, but we see the courts have seemingly forgotten their obligations to enforce the constitution by failing to identify activity which does not begin to approach constitutional muster. Given the reality that our governments (state and federal) are unwilling to allocate resources to properly address the ineffectiveness of the current system, and the fact that our courts are unwilling to find blatant ineffective assistance ineffective, this paper will address the issues of the sixth amendment and resource allocation and provide recommendations as to how the system might be improved.