Betts v. Brady Case Brief

Summary of Betts v. Brady
U.S. S. Ct. (1943)

Facts: The petitioner was indicted for robbery. He was unable to afford a counsel and he asked the court to assingn one for him. The court ruled that it was not the it's duty to provide the defendant with a counsel, unless he was involved in a rape or murder case. The defendant was found guilty and was sentenced to 8 years in prison. The petitioner filed for writ of habeas corpus arguing that his 14th Amendment rights were violated.

Issue: Did the 6th and 14th Amendments provide the petitioner with the right to a counsel?

Holding: No

Reasoning: The due process clause does not enforce it upon the states to provide counsels for defendants in every type of criminal case. According to the court, “… in the great majority of the States, it has been the considered judgement of the people, their representatives and their courts that appointment of counsel is not a fundamental right, essential to a fair trial.” Furthermore, the petitioner was familiar with the criminal justices system, having been convicted of a crime before. He also waived his right to a jury trial and his trial was conducted by a judge, which favors the petitioner as far as the fairness of the trial is concerned. So it can not be determined that the 14th Amendment provided the petitioner the right to a counsel and without which, a fair justice was not served to him. Affirmed.


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