The Champion

January/February 2003 , Page 24 

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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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