Argersinger V. Hamlin

407 U.S. 25 (1972)

Mr. Argersinger was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, a misdemeanor that carried up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. He went to trial before a judge, without a jury, and was found guilty. Mr. Argersinger was not represented by counsel. He was sentenced to serve 90 days in jail. Following his conviction, Mr. Argersinger brought a habeas corpus action, claiming that he was deprived of his right to counsel.

Constitutional Issue
The Court was asked to determine whether due process requires that a person accused of a crime, even a misdemeanor, is entitled to the assistance of counsel for his defense. Extending the rationale of both Powell and Gideon, the Court noted that Ïthere are certain fundamental rights applicable to all such criminal prosecutions, even those, . . . where the penalty is 60 daysÌ imprisonment.Ó Looking beyond high-stakes prosecutions, the Court commented that Ï[t]he trial of vagrancy cases is illustrative. While only brief sentences of imprisonment may be imposed, the cases often bristle with thorny constitutional questions.Ó

In reversing the conviction, the Court held that the right to counsel is fundamental and required for all criminal prosecutions where imprisonment is a possible punishment:

"We hold that no person may be deprived of his liberty who has been denied the assistance of counsel as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment. This holding is applicable to all criminal prosecutions, including prosecutions for violations of municipal ordinances. The denial of the assistance of counsel will preclude the imposition of a jail sentence."

Upcoming Training
For more information, contact:
LPDB Training Division at

Friday, May 31, 2019
1144 N Causeway Blvd.
Benedict’s Plantation
526 Pine Street
Mandeville, Louisiana

6.25 hours CLE, including Ethics & Professionalism

Registration Form

For more information contact:

Chris Aberle, Director
Louisiana Appellate Project
P. O. Box 8583
Mandeville, LA 70470-8583
(985) 871-4084

Eyewitness Identification Training
Friday, May 17, 2019
10:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
The Bienville Parish Courthouse
100 Courthouse Drive
Arcadia, LA 71001

The training will focus on the science of memory and eyewitness
identifications, and Act 466. Additionally, we will discuss how to
reframe and challenge Manson v. Braithwaite 432 U.S. 98 (1977) and
State v. Young, 35 So. 3d 1042 (La. 2010) given the scientific
developments and case law from other jurisdictions. A list of helpful
cases and model motions will be available at the training. We are seeking
CLE credit for the training and have capacity for approximately 55

Click HERE for more information and the registration form.

Upcoming NAPD Trainings

NAPD offers several trainings throughout the year. Please visit NAPD's website to see more information about all of their upcoming trainings and events.