An indigent defendant in a state criminal prosecution is guaranteed the right to appointed counsel. The boundaries of this right, however, have yet to be fully developed. For instance, the right to counsel on appeal has developed in stages. Initially, the indigent criminal defendant successfully attacked state statutes establishing filing fees or other financial prerequisites which denied him access to the appellate level. Soon the Supreme Court clarified its position on such discriminatory statutes by specifically extending the right to proceed in forma pauperisto discretionary appeals. The indigent attempted to extend the Court's reasoning in the filing fee cases to establish the right of counsel on appeal, contending that the mere elimination of filing fees did not provide meaningful access to the courts. When the Supreme Court decided that meaningful access did include the right to counsel on an indigent's first appeal as a matter of right, it became obvious that whether the state also had a duty to appoint counsel on the discretionary appellate level would also be tested.
Constitutional Law-Equal Protection-Failure to Appoint Counsel on Discretionary Appeals Held Not Violative of Fourteenth Amendment,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
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