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Abstract

A series of recent New York Court of Appeals decisions have upheld the right of a criminal suspect to have the assistance of an attorney at every stage of legal proceedings against him. This approach is considered by some to be problematic, imposing onerous burdens on police which impede effective law enforcement. This Note discusses the criminal defendant's pre-trial right to counsel in New York. Section II outlines the historical development of this fundamental right. Judicial expansions of the pre-trial right to counsel, including the People v. Bartolomeo decision, are analyzed in Section III with a view toward their effect on law enforcement. These decisions are divided into three areas of legal inquiry: interrogation regarding unrelated matters, formal commencement of a criminal action, and prior arrest. The Note concludes that the New York Court of Appeals has sacrificed effective law enforcement in its attempt to protect the defendant's constitutional rights by expanding the pre-trial right to counsel.

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