Gideon vs Wainwright (1963)


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  • Clarence Earl Gideon commited a crime. He got in trouble for breaking and entering a poolroom. His intent was to steal another persons property. He got caught by the police and was charged.
  • Gideon showed up in court to talk with the Judge to decide on his punishment. He needs an attorney to help him. The judge won't appoint one to him. So he represents himself and was sentenced to prison for five years.
  • Gideon went to the highest court. 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. He got his friends to sign a paper to hear his case. Gideon believed it was wrong of the courts to deny him an attorney because he thought it violated the 6th amendment.
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