Powell v Alabama
A group of African-American youths were on a freight train through Alabama. They got into a fight with some white youths, throwing the white boys from the train. A message was sent, requesting all blacks be removed from the train. Two white girls on the train testified that they had been raped by six different youths in turn. The youths were taken into custody. The community was very hostile, as a mob met the youths. The trial judge appointed “all members of the bar” for the purpose of the arraignment. The defendants themselves were illiterate and “ignorant”. They were all tried separately, each trial lasting a day, convicted, and sentenced to death. Throughout the proceedings, none of the “Scottsboro” boys was allowed to contact their relatives, who lived out of State. On the day of the trial, an out-of-town attorney appeared for the defendants but announced that he could not formally represent them. The trial judge called on all the local lawyers present to assume responsibility for defending the nine young men, but only one agreed. The two lawyers had no opportunity to investigate the case or consult with their “clients.” All nine youths were found guilty by four separate juries, despite testimony from doctors who said they found no evidence of rape upon examining the women. Eight of the nine men received the death penalty. The convictions were appealed through the State courts of Alabama, and failing there, went to the Supreme Court. The question before the Court regarded the right to legal counsel guaranteed by the 6th Amendment, and how that right was applied to the States by the 14th Amendment. Must States provide counsel to citizens who cannot afford an attorney? Could a citizen be sentenced to death without benefit of counsel? Was the right to counsel so fundamental that the trial could not be fair without an attorney being provided? Was the right to counsel guaranteed in State...
Cited: "4lawschool.com." Powell v. Alabama Case Brief. Hot Chalk Partner, 2001. Web. 09 Oct. 2013. .
"POWELL v. ALABAMA." Powell v. Alabama. Chicago-Kent College of Law., 2003. Web. 09 Oct. 2013. .
"Powell v. Alabama." Powell V Alabama. Laws.com, n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2013. .
"Powell v Alabama." Weblog post. Legal Dictionary. Legal Dictionary, 2006. Web. .
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