Gideon v. Wainwright

Gideon v. Wainwright

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  • You cannot have one. According to Florida state law, an attorney may only be appointed to a needy defendant in capital cases.
  • 1963: Clarence E. Gideon is charged in Florida state court with felony breaking and entering.
  • I would like the court to appoint me a lawyer. I cannot afford one.
  • I had to represent myself! My constitutional rights were violated!
  • Guilty! I sentence you to 5 years imprisonment!
  • Gideon filed a habeas corpus petition in the Florida Supreme Court, arguing that the trial court's decision violated his constitutional right to be represented by counsel. The Florida Supreme Court denied habeas corpus relief.
  • I am taking this to the  United States Supreme Court!
  • LAW
  • Later in the Supreme Court...
  • We've accepted your habeas corpus petition. What brings you here?
  • The court violated my constitutional right of appointing a lawyer if I could not afford one.
  • After months of arguing...
  • The U.S. Supreme court will grant you a retrial with a court-appointed attorney.
  • We found that the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of counsel is a fundamental and essential right made obligatory upon the states by the Fourteenth Amendment. 
  • Back in the Florida court house...
  • You are acquitted of the previous accusations made against you.
  • We did it!
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