Articles Tagged with Joaquin Guzman

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Defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman speaks with the media after a hearing in Brooklyn Federal Court regarding “El Chapo” Guzman on August 14, 2017 in New York. DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

The Sixth Amendment’s right to counsel is one of the bedrock principles of the American justice system: all those charged with a crime are guaranteed the right to counsel.  If an individual charged with a crime cannot afford an attorney, since 1963 the Supreme Court has ruled that an attorney will be provided to him at no cost (Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963)).  This attorney will either come in the form of a fulltime public defender or an attorney assigned by the court and paid by the hour.  In either situation, these attorneys have a very large caseload and limited resources to devote to each assigned client.  And now we come to the case of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman: extradited to the United States from Mexico in January of 2017, Guzman was provided federal public defenders at his first court appearance in the Eastern District of New York – despite the prosecutors claiming that his purported massive wealth did not entitle him to taxpayer-funded counsel.  After all, the government was concerned that the American taxpayer would be forced to foot the massive legal bill generated from the numerous indictments lodged against Guzman in six separate American jurisdictions.  Seven months later, the government is doing all that it can to prevent Mr. Guzman from hiring private counsel, ensuring that taxpayers will be forced to pay all legal expenses, as the first of up to six trials and appeals looms, in April of 2018.   Continue reading