U.S. Supreme Court

Gideon Alert: High Court Focuses on the Right to Effective Counsel in Plea Bargaining

BY Edwin A. Burnette on Thursday, April 5, 2012 at 10:46 AM

The meaning of the Sixth Amendment’s promise of “effective counsel” has taken on additional dimensions over the past few weeks. On March 21, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two decisions exploring the right to effective assistance of counsel during plea bargaining. In Missouri v.

High Court hears arguments on right to counsel in civil contempt proceedings with possible jail time

BY Jon Mosher on Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 12:23 PM

On March 23, 2011, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Turner v. Rogers – a case squarely addressing whether an indigent person can be jailed on civil contempt without being given a lawyer to represent him.  Michael Turner served a year in prison when he was held in contempt by a South Carolina court for failing to timely pay child support, but he had to represent himself in court and had no lawyer to represent him.

High Court asked whether poor can be jailed on contempt without lawyer

BY Jon Mosher on Friday, January 14, 2011 at 2:55 PM

The United States Supreme Court has been asked to hear a case squarely addressing whether an indigent person can be jailed on civil contempt, without being given a lawyer to represent him.  In Turner v. Rogers, Michael Turner served a year in prison when he was held in contempt by a South Carolina court for failing to timely pay child support, but he had to represent himself in court and had no lawyer to represent him.  "The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled the sentence was coercive, rather than punitive, and Turner had no right to a lawyer," explains the ABA Journal.