Standby or Advisory Counsel

AuthorElizabeth Owen and Erica Weissmann
Elizabeth Owen and Erica Weissman
If the court calls and appoints you as standby or advisory or counsel, you
may have mixed emotions. On the one hand, you should feel honored that
the judge believes that you have good relations with your clients, in addition
to the fact that with this particular appointment, you will understand the inter-
play between the client’s competency, the client’s Sixth Amendment right
to counsel, and your ethical responsibilities. On the other hand, you may
dread the appointment, particularly if you know that your new client has had
a string of prior attorneys.
This chapter by Dr. Elizabeth Owen and Dr. Erica Weissman will help
you embrace the appointment, navigate challenges, and perhaps even leave
your client with the belief that he or she did in fact receive his or her day in
• • •
Criminal defendants have a constitutional right to counsel—and a
Constitutional right to dispense with counsel and represent themselves.
As the United States Supreme Court explained in Faretta v. California
(1975): “[U]nless the defendant agrees to representation by counsel, the
defense presented is not the defense guaranteed by the Constitution, for,
in a very real sense, it is not his defense. . . . The defendant, not his lawyer
or the State, will bear the personal consequences of a conviction. It is the
Standby or Advisory

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