Gideon vs Wainwright

Gideon vs Wainwright
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  • Gideon vs Wainwright
  • Clarence Earl Gideon was charged in Florida state court with a felony, having broke into and entered a poolroom with the intent to commit a misdemeanor offense. When he appeared in court without a lawyer, Gideon requested the court to appoint him one, for the causes according to Florida state law an attorney may only be provided to an indigent defendant in capital cases, so the trial court did not appoint one. Gideon later on wrote a letter from his jail cell to the Supreme Court stating in his petition that the court challenged his conviction and sentence on the ground that the trial judge's refusal to appoint counsel violated Gideon's constitutional rights.
  • The court agreed to hear the case to resolve the question on whether the right to counsel guaranteed under the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution applies to defendants in the state court.
  • Gideon vs Wainwright is based on the Sixth Amendment the right to counsel is a fundamental right applied to the states via the Fourteenth Amendment.
  •  Gideon requested that the court appoint one for him. According to Florida state law, however, an attorney may only be appointed to an indigent defendant in capital cases, so the trial court did not appoint one. Gideon represented himself in trial. He was found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison. Gideon filed a habeas corpus petition in the Florida Supreme Court and argued that the trial court's decision violated his constitutional right to be represented by counsel.
  • Despite his efforts, the jury found Gideon guilty and he was sentenced to five years imprisonment.
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