The ruling of United States Supreme Court in favour of Powell in the Powell V. Alabama case was highly critical in the foundations of its criminal jurisdiction. According to the ruling, a defendant guilt criminal trial should be given adequate access to counsel if he /she requested the same. The incident occurred in 1931 where nine African-American men were accused of having raped two American white women who were in a freight car that surpassed a train in Alabama. It occurred in a train that had two females and seven men. However, in the plight of the incidence a fight broke which saw six men thrown out.
In the due process, the women configured a rape case by the men. However, one of them retracted this claim at later date (Carol, 2006, p. 14). From the proceedings of the Alabama court, eight of them excluding Roy Wright got a life sentence. However, following the nature of the proceedings of the case, a ruling was made that the defendants were not provided with an impartial defense which comprised adequate court proceedings. Above all, they were denied adequacy of legal counsel. However, following the inadequacy of the case, an appeal was made to the Supreme Court.
Following the power and rule of majority, the ruling of the Alabama Supreme Court was reversed to give fresh legal jurisdiction. According to the decisions by the U. S Supreme Court, the Alabama court had violated due process for the validity of the case. This was provided by its three consequential judgments. Firstly, the defendants were obsessed their right to counsel. Elsewhere, the judgment was not impartial deliberate and fair. Additionally, the judgment court officials lacked a representation of juries which was inclusive of qualified members from the defendant’s race.
(Carol, 2006, p. 32) The case proceedings at Alabama was critical in its general atmosphere and the nature of its proceeding. At one level, it salvaged great hostility towards the defendants which included both military escorts and hostile public domain. Elsewhere, it was unprofessional and compromised impartial trial when the judges failed to provide room for counsel even without them request. The case could not provide a fair trial from the manner in which it was expeditiously dealt with or without providing enough time for the defendants to find their lawyers.
Even with Mr. Roddy as their counsel, his role was unclear. However, the Supreme Court made a ruling in favor of Powell. According to its judgment, the Alabama court failure of giving adequate time for the defendants’ secure of counsel denied the due process in the case. Accordingly, the court was obliged in providing a counsel whether or not the defendants had requested it. This was important for a due process in the legal case jurisdiction. (Bradford, Ken, 1997, p. 98) The Powell V. Alabama case was critical in the development of criminal procedures.
Significantly the legal provision of a counsel at a well and adequately prescribed manner was perhaps a benchmark towards a formal judgment and inquiry into criminal procedures. This implied that, any future criminal proceedings would be in reference to this case such that the most plausible legal institution would only qualify for a reasonable and valid criminal judgment. (Akhil, 1998, p. 76) Reference to this case judgment would no longer make incompetent trials, which does not secure impartial and fair trial.
Every criminal proceeding would therefore follow the precepts of provision of a legal counsel, which would only validate a due process in the legal judgment of the case. Therefore, Powell V. Alabama case provided a greater scope of legal rationality in handling criminal cases. The idea of legal counsel for the indigent defendant got a further expansion in Gideon V. Wainwright case. According to the ruling of the Supreme Court, all state courts were required to provide counsels in all criminal cases for the defendants who were unable in affording their attorneys.
This was in reference to the sixth amendment of the constitution. According to the ruling of the court, any incident of lack of defendants representation was synonymously to a legal denial of their due process, which consequently denied them a fair trial of court proceedings. Consequently therefore, the court was obliged to providing defendants with attorneys for whom they could not afford. This provided a crucial part in formulating a standard scope with which the judgment levied on the criminal defendants would not compromise any fair trial, impartial and due process.
Akhil, R. (1998) The Constitution and Criminal Procedures. First Principles. Yale University Press, pp.76
Bradford, P & Ken, M (1997) The Supreme Court and American Constitutionalism. Rowman & Littlefield, pp.98
Carol, Steiker (2006) Criminal Procedure Stories. New York, Foundation Press, pp. 14, 32
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