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The Champion

July 2017 , Page 59 

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Public Defense: Popularizing the Sixth Amendment

By Jeff Adachi

Popularizing the Sixth Amendment

“You defend criminals, right?”

Ask someone on the street to explain my job, and that’s the most likely response.

That’s because in the eyes of the public, not all constitutional protections are created equally. Some have flashy reputations, while others are wallflowers — until someone needs to depend on them.

The First Amendment is glamorous, the stuff of raucous protests and Edward Snowden and brave reporters who go to jail for their principles. The Second Amendment inspires macho action movies and defiant vows involving cold, dead hands.

But Americans have trouble identifying, much less championing the Sixth Amendment right to counsel. And that’s a shame, because it is among the most powerful rights granted by the U.S. Constitution.

Public defenders must embark on a campaign to give the Sixth Amendment its due. Not to win a popularity contest, but because it is critical to funding indigent defense.

Public defenders hav

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