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The Crisis in Federal Criminal Law

By Cynthia Eva Hujar Orr

The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution assures the effective assistance of counsel to those accused of crimes. Persons who cannot afford to hire an attorney, no less than those who can afford to hire counsel, are entitled to effective assistance from the lawyer who represents each of them. It is only in providing effective assistance to each person accused of a crime that we can be assured that our system of criminal justice provides a fair process to each person accused, providing assurances that the innocent are not convicted and that the guilty are not punished too harshly. This bedrock principle has been recognized by our highest court:

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