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Kirby v. Illinois


The victim of a robbery was called to the police station for the purpose of identifying the defendant as a robber. The defendant had been arrested in connection with an unrelated criminal offense. At the time of the confrontation the defendant had not been advised of the right to counsel, nor did he ask for or receive legal assistance.


Whether the defendant was entitled to representation during the “show-up” under the Sixth Amendment?


No. The government had not yet initiated the adversarial process against the defendant for the robbery.


A person’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel attaches only at or after the time that adversary judicial proceedings have been initiated against him. This is not to say that a defendant in a criminal case has a constitutional right to counsel only at the trial itself. The right attaches at the time the process begins–whether by way of formal charge, preliminary hearing, indictment, information, or arraignment. The defendant, in this case, had no Sixth Amendment right to counsel.


406 U.S. 682, 92 S. Ct. 1877 (1972)

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