The Beginnings of Criminal Defense Attorneys

History of Criminal Defense Attorneys

Criminal defense attorneys can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as Greece and Rome, where defendants were allowed to hire orators to defend them in criminal trials. However, the modern concept of a criminal defense attorney emerged in England in the 18th century, with the development of the adversarial legal system.

In the early days of the adversarial system, defendants were not permitted to have legal representation in criminal trials. Instead, they were expected to defend themselves and present their own case. However, as the legal system became more complex and the penalties for criminal offenses became more severe, the need for legal representation in criminal trials became increasingly evident.

In the United States, the right to legal counsel in criminal cases was established in the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees the right to a fair trial and the assistance of counsel for the defense. However, it wasn’t until the mid-20th century that the role of the criminal defense attorney became more prominent and established.

20th Century Defense Attorneys

In the 1950s and 60s, a number of landmark Supreme Court cases expanded the rights of criminal defendants and strengthened the role of defense attorneys in the criminal justice system. One of the most significant of these cases was Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), which established the right to legal counsel for indigent defendants.

Today, criminal defense attorneys play a critical role in the legal system, working to ensure that defendants are treated fairly and have their rights protected during criminal proceedings. They represent defendants at every stage of the process, from arraignment and plea bargaining to trial and appeal, and work to ensure that their clients receive the best possible outcome under the law.

Contact Montgomery, Kelly, & Dennett

Here at Montgomery, Kelley & Dennett we pride ourselves in being world class Criminal Defense Attorneys providing professional legal services to each client we serve. We look forward to serving you and all your legal needs in the Williamsburg, James City, New Kent, Yorktown & Hampton areas. Call Now! 757.229.8284