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In a 7-2 decision, the Court held for the first time that the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause required an effective appointment of counsel in state courts. Powell v. Alabama became the foundation case for anyone who has ever needed a court-appointed attorney to represent them.

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Law Databases


FindLaw's Cases and Codes section contains provisions of state and federal law. It also contains a record of state and federal case law for trial and appellate courts. The site looks at the arguments made in Powell v. Alabama. It includes the full text of the court's opinion and a dissent along with a record of various filings and motions leading to the outcome of the case. Click here.


Oyez.com provides a variety of resources on Powell v. Alabama, including links to case text, audio recordings, and references. It also provides a high-level overview of the central issue addressed by the case and the court's holding along with a visual depiction of how the individual justices sided both by seniority and ideology. Click here.

Online Reference Resources

Encyclopedia of Alabama

Well-researched with helpful bibliographies, each Encyclopedia of Alabama entry is an effective jumping-off point for getting the facts of the case. Entries range from landmark court cases to influential jurists and legislators. The Encyclopedia aids in contextualizing Powell v. Alabama as part of Alabama history and provides implications of the decision for the state's future. Click here.

Exploring Constitutional Conflicts

This site explores issues and controversies that surround the Constitution of the United States. Each entry includes a list of relevant SCOTUS cases as well as open-ended discussion questions.

Click here.

Sixth Amendment Center

This webpage provides look into the issues surrounding the right to counsel and a speedy and impartial trial addressed in Powell v. Alabama. The write-up emphasizes the narrow nature of the holding in Powell.

Click here.

Archival Resources

Library of Congress

A hard copy of the opinion can be found in U.S. Reports Volume 287. The Library of Congress has a PDF from one of these reporters.

Click here.

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