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Trumpet or Kazoo?
By John T. Philipsborn
Before she left office, Attorney General Janet Reno said, “A competent
lawyer will know how to conduct the necessary investigation so that an innocent
client is not convicted. . . .”1 How true — isn’t that what an
effective lawyer knows how to do — confer with the client, investigate,
prepare, research, consult with experts, review evidence, deal with witnesses,
present the defense? If that were so evident, why indeed would it take more
than one hundred and fifty years of constitutional interpretations for our
highest court to conclude that the right to counsel must indeed require all
jurisdictions within its reach to provide lawyers for each person charged with
felonious conduct? Even then, of course, Gideon v. Wainwright only
filled the glass part way.2
In his well-known book, Anthony Lewis gave Clarence Gideon, and the meaning
of his stubborn effort at securing his right to counsel, a metaphor worthy of
someone who had resonance — Gideon’s Trumpet. But the truth is that
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