In 1970 Chief Justice Burger, commenting on the work of the ABA Advisory Committee, compared the criminal justice system to a three-legged stool, one leg the judge, the second leg the prosecution, and the third leg the defense lawyer: "We concluded very quickly that that third leg in this context was as essential as the third leg of a stool. We have not quite said it ought to be jurisdictional that you have three parts to this enterprise but we have come very, very close to it." It is time to admit the overriding social need for attorney representation and to abandon the notion that our courts are, or should be, screening the non-indigent before appointment of counsel. On several occasions the leaders of criminal justice thinking in this country have suggested or intimated that we will ultimately come to socialization of the defense function. Socialization is a pejorative word in this country. Let us simply admit that we need the defense lawyer, are willing to pay the public cost, and, while we will accept a contribution from the defendant, we are not going to worry about whether he might be able to hire his own lawyer, and stop telling defendants that next term of court they will be tried "with or without a lawyer."

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 1973


Notes/Citation Information

Washington University Law Quarterly, Vol. 1973, No. 4 (Fall 1973), pp. 821-839


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