Halbert v. Michigan: The Application of the Douglas-Ross Dichotomy in Constitutionalizing Indigency in States’ Appellate Court Processes


This note centers on a discussion of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Halbert v. Michigan case. This case addressed the issue of whether an indigent defendant is entitled to assistance of counsel by the state to file a leave for appeal. The Court, in a 6-3 decision, held that an indigent defendant is entitled to assistance of counsel when an appeal is available by leave of the court. Prior decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court have addressed the issue of assistance of counsel during the trial and appellate stage of litigation. This note will present a historical overview on how the Court previously decided an indigent defendant’s right to access to the appellate courts. It will also include an analysis of the Court’s decision along with a critical analysis of the decision and its impact on the legal community.


Constitutional Law | Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure | Public Law and Legal Theory

Date of this Version

March 2006