“The right of one charged with crime to counsel may not be deemed fundamental and essential to fair trials in some counties, but it is in ours. From the very beginning, our state and national constitutions and laws have laid great emphasis on procedural and substantive safeguards designed to assure fair trials before impartial tribunals in which every defendant stands equal before the law.  This noble ideal cannot be realized if the poor man charged without a lawyer to assist him.”

 

Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 355 (1963)

3rd Judicial Circuit Public Defender Blair Payne