The Criminal Justice Act of 1964 goes a long way toward making the idea that a poor man should not be denied an opportunity to defend himself against a criminal charge because he lacks the means a reality in our federal court system. By its impact on the administration of criminal justice, it is quite possible that the act will become recognized and rank as one of the major legislative achievements in a decade spanning both the New Frontier and the Great Society and crowded with congressional actions. The Criminal Justice Act of 1964 is quite short. Behind it, however, lies a lengthy history which must be appreciated if its potential is to be widely known and its provisions are to be fully used. With the means now at hand to furnish "representation of defendants who are financially unable to obtain an adequate defense in criminal cases in the courts of the United States," the bar has both a challenge and a responsibility. Will the quality of representation in court appointed cases now improve? In the process of providing the desired representation, can abuse of the provisions of the act be avoided? The purpose of this article is to suggest ways and means for doing both.

I. The Present Situation

II. The Search for an Adequate Remedy

III. Efforts Toward Enactment

IV. Problems in Implementation

V. Provisions of the Plan

VI. Conclusion