Constitutionally Required Counsel

The first article of the Louisiana Constitution is entitled “Declaration of Rights.”  La. Const., Art. 1.  It contains twenty-seven sections, delineating people’s rights ranging from the right to individual dignity  to the right to hunt and to fish.  Within the Declaration of Rights is the Louisiana version of the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution.  It reads, in mandatory terms, as follows:

§13. Rights of the Accused

Section 13. When any person has been arrested or detained in connection with the investigation or commission of any offense, he shall be advised fully of the reason for his arrest or detention, his right to remain silent, his right against self incrimination, his right to the assistance of counsel and, if indigent, his right to court appointed counsel. In a criminal prosecution, an accused shall be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. At each stage of the proceedings, every person is entitled to assistance of counsel of his choice, or appointed by the court if he is indigent and charged with an offense punishable by imprisonment. The legislature shall provide for a uniform system for securing and compensating qualified counsel for indigents.

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