CourtSpeak: Johnson v. Avery Jailhouse Lawyer Case (1969)

Criminal Procedure and Constitutional Rights Read more from
Chapter The Warren Court (1953–69)

Justice William O. Douglas (concurring): “Where government fails to provide the prison with the legal counsel it demands, the prison generates its own. In a community where illiteracy and mental deficiency is notoriously high, it is not enough to ask the prisoner to be his own lawyer. Without the assistance of fellow prisoners, some meritorious claims would never see the light of a courtroom. In cases where that assistance succeeds, it speaks for itself. And even in cases where it fails, it may provide a necessary medium of expression.”


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