[h1] Undisputed Constitutional Right To An Attorney [/h1]
Adjustments to crack cocaine sentences are being greatly hindered by financial inability to hire a lawyer. According to the News & Observer April 21, 2008 article,("Crack Convicts Face Resentencing Alone") 'As the federal courts begin the unprecedented task of deciding whether thousands of prisoners should receive lower crack cocaine sentences, some judges are telling poor convicts that they won't get lawyers to help them argue for leniency. As a result, some prisoners are being left to argue on their own behalf against skilled prosecutors, raising questions about fairness."
The article states, "Many of the 20,000 prisoners who are eligible say they're too poor to hire lawyers to ask for lower sentences. Many judges have appointed federal defenders to represent poor prisoners at taxpayers' expense, saying it ensures that the requests will be handled efficiently. Other judges have not appointed attorneys, saying they aren't needed for a straightforward sentencing matter."
The article adds, "The constitutional right to an attorney after criminal indictment and during trial and sentencing is undisputed. But several federal appeals and district courts have said that judges generally don't have to appoint attorneys for convicted criminals who are seeking corrected sentences. Without lawyers, some defendants with legitimate requests will be overlooked, say federal defenders who are screening many of the crack cocaine cases."
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