"IN ALL CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS, THE ACCUSED SHALL ENJOY THE RIGHT . . . TO HAVE THE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL FOR HIS DEFENSE." SIXTH AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION“
Not only these precedents but also reason and reﬂection require us to recognize that in our adversary system of criminal justice, any person haled into court, who is too poor to hire a lawyer, cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel is provided for him. This seems to us to be an obvious truth.”
Being treated fairly by the criminal justice system should not be a privilege of the rich. In 1963, the United States Supreme Court in Gideon v. Wainwright recognized that the fundamental right to a fair trial requires an indigent person accused of a crime to have the assistance of counsel. The Arkansas Public Defender Commission exists to guarantee that the poor have that fundamental right to a fair trial.
The public defender ensures the protection of due process rights for its clients at all stages of a criminal proceeding by informing, advising, advocating, and negotiating on behalf of the client.