Right to Counsel Landmark Supreme Court Cases
The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution establishes that "in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right . . . have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence." "It is beyond dispute that 'the Sixth Amendment safeguards to an accused who faces incarceration the right to counsel at all critical stages of the criminal process.' Iowa v. Tovar, 541 U.S. 77, 80-81 (2004); see United States v. Cronic, 466 U.S. 648, 653-654 (1984); Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335, 344 (1963)." (Marshall v. Rodgers (2013))
A criminal defendant's Sixth Amendment right to counsel extends to "sentencing in both noncapital, see Glover v. United States, 531 U.S. 198, 203-204 (2001); Mempa v. Rhay, 389 U.S. 128 (1967), and capital cases, see Wiggins v. Smith, 539 U.S. 510, 538 (2003)" (Lafler v. Cooper (2012(; see People v. Doolin (2009) 45 Cal.4th 390, 453.)
"Douglas v. California, 372 U.S. 353 (1963), established that an indigent criminal defendant has a right to appointed counsel in his first appeal as of right in state court. Evitts v. Lucey (1985) 469 U.S. 387 held that this right encompasses a right to effective assistance of counsel for all criminal defendants in their first appeal as of right. The United States Supreme Court based its holding in Douglas on that 'equality demanded by the Fourteenth Amendment.' 372 U.S., at 358, 83 S.Ct., at 817. Recognizing that 'absolute equality is not required,' the court nonetheless held that 'where the merits of the one and only appeal an indigent has as of right are decided without benefit of counsel, . . . an unconstitutional line has been drawn between rich and poor.' Id., at 357, 83 S.Ct., at 816." (Coleman v. Thompson (1991) 501 U.S. 722, 755-756.)
"In Ross v. Moffitt, 417 U.S. 600 (1974), and Pennsylvania v. Finley, 481 U.S. 551 (1987), the United States Supreme Court declined to extend the right to counsel beyond the first appeal of a criminal conviction.
The court held in Ross that neither the fundamental fairness required by the Due Process Clause nor the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection guarantee necessitated that States provide counsel in state discretionary appeals where defendants already had one appeal as of right. . . . Similarly, in Finley the court held that there is no right to counsel in state collateral proceedings after exhaustion of direct appellate review. 481 U.S., at 556, 107 S.Ct., at 1993-1994 (citing Ross, supra)." (Coleman v. Thompson, supra, 501 U.S. at p. 756.)
In Coleman v. Thompson, the Supreme Court determined that a habeas corpus petitioner had no "right to counsel to appeal a state collateral determination of his claims of trial error."3 (Id. at pp. 756-757.)
Further, federal courts have consistently held that a felon has no constitutional right to be represented by an attorney on a statutory, postjudgment motion to reduce a final sentence. (See, e.g., U.S. v. Webb (11th Cir. 2009) 565 F.3d 789, 794-795 (per curiam) Sixth Amendment right to counsel that normally applies in sentencing or resentencing hearing does not apply to a motion under 3582, subd. (c)(2), to reduce sentence based upon post-sentencing amendments to federal sentencing guidelines; U.S. v. Taylor (4th Cir. 2005) 414 F.3d 528, 530 no federal constitutional right to counsel when government brings motion to reduce a final sentence pursuant to Fed. Rules Crim. Proc., rule 35(b); U.S. v. Whitebird (5th Cir. 1995) 55 F.3d 1007, 1011 no constitutional right to appointed counsel to bring motion pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 3582(c)(2).)