right to counsel, indigent criminal defendants
Amici curiae brief filed by 78 faculty members from the University of Maryland School of Law and the University of Baltimore School of Law, on behalf of Appellants Quinton Richmond, et al. Amicus members felt the need to comment on the application and implications of the statutory right to counsel under Maryland law for indigent criminal defendants. The issue before the Court of Appeals was whether the Court’s previous holding in McCarter v. State, 363 Md. 705 (2001), that the plain language of the Maryland Public Defender Act created a right to counsel during all stages of a criminal proceeding, establish that criminal defendants have a statutory right to representation at bail hearings?
Amici argue that the Maryland Public Defender Act and Maryland Rule 4-214(b), the Maryland Legislature established a statutory guarantee of counsel for indigent criminal defendants at all “stages of proceedings”. See, MD. Code Ann. Art., art. 27A §4(2001) and Md. Rule 4-214(2008). In McCarter, the Court recognized that the plain language of art. 27A, § 4, creates a right to representation that “extends to all stages in the proceedings.” McCarter 363 Md. at 716. In the view of the amici, a right to representation at “all stages in the [criminal] proceedings” necessarily includes the initial setting of bail, an integral part of the criminal process that has immediate implications for the accused and for the development of the case. They argue that representation at the initial appearance reduces the likelihood of unnecessary pre-trial detention and affords an accused the opportunity to investigate the allegations, prepare a defense and obtain a fair trial.
Constitutional Law | Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure