Everybody knows Amendments One (free speech!) and Two (guns!) but, much like Led Zeppelin IV, the deeper cuts of the Bill of Rights are as critical to its greatness as the singles. The Sixth Amendment guarantees a right to an attorney and right to a speedy trial. As of late, the U.S. has had some trouble delivering on that—but more on that below. The solution? Starting a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that would fund legal counsel for defendants at all level of government — federal, state, and local. It would also conduct research on the public defense system and function as an informational resource. It would be called the National Center for the Right to Counsel.
The non-profit would be helmed by a nine member board of directors, chosen by the President. A majority of these would have to be from the highest board in their state, while one would have to be a former indigent defendant — a person that couldn’t afford an attorney after being charged with a crime. The board would be mirrored by a nine member state advisory councils, which would investigate local complaints and report back to the national board.
Finally, the bill requires the center to provide services in languages that aren’t English where large numbers of people speak them.