U.S. House unanimously passes resolution supporting the right to counsel

November 14, 2013


Jon Mosher


Pleading The Sixth


“The first step towards solving any problem is acknowledging one exists,” stated Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-21), speaking November 13, 2013, on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in support of House Resolution 196, Supporting the Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution, the right to counsel. The problem in question, according to Deutch, is that “the fundamental right of an indigent defendant to adequate counsel remains withering on the vine.”  Though the resolution itself simply reflects support for the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution itself – and thus its passage by unanimous consent later that night was expected – it is still important because the resolution is the first bipartisan acknowledgement by the House of Representatives that Congress should develop “strategies to improve the criminal justice system to ensure that indigent defendants … are adequately represented by counsel.”