Americans have the right to legal cousel as specified by the Supreme Court case Gideon vs Wainwright. The only problem now is that this has become an unfunded mandate.
And this does not even take into account the fact that drones can be used against American citizens.
Next Monday, America will quietly mark one of the most profound anniversaries in its legal history. Exactly 50 years ago, on March 18, 1963, the United States Supreme Court unanimously announced in Gideon v. Wainwright that the Sixth Amendment guarantees to every criminal defendant in a felony trial the right to a lawyer. "Reason and reflection," Justice Hugo Black wrote, "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 to him."
The Gideon decision, heralded in its own time, has profoundly changed America’s criminal justice system ever since. In the past half century since the ruling, the constitutional right to counsel has ensured that millions of criminal suspects — the guilty, the innocent, and the somewhere-in-between — have been aided by earnest, capable lawyers.
Today, sadly, the Gideon ruling amounts to another unfunded mandate — the right to a lawyer for those who need one most is a constitutional aspiration as much as anything else. And the reasons are no mystery. Over the intervening half-century, Congress and state lawmakers consistently have refused to fund public defenders’ offices adequately.
So today, the justices won’t secure the basic fair trial rights they themselves recognized in Gideon. And today, elected officials see no political value in spending the money it would take to ensure that every American has an opportunity for equal justice.