gideon vs wainwright

gideon vs wainwright

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  • Background Information
  • The Court Trial
  • Overall Outcome
  • Clarence Earl Gideon was leaving a poolroom at around 5:30 a.m. on June 3, 1961. He was seen leaving with a bottle of wine, and money in his pockets. Earlier that same night, an unknown person broke a door, smashed a cigarette machine and a record machine, and stole money from the cash register. Based on this accusation alone, the police arrested Gideon and charged him with breaking and entering with intent to commit petty larceny. Petty larceny is theft of personal property having value less than a legally specified amount.
  • When Gideon was convicted and sentenced to jail, he had to go to a court hearing to determine how many years he would get by the judge in the Supreme Court. Gideon could not afford an attorney, so with our right of the Sixth Amendment, he was supposed to be provided an attorney. But the supreme court denied him of that right, which led to a huge two month trial that was heard around the world. Keep in mind, there is no proof he had even committed this crime.
  • The trial lasted from January 12, 1963 until March 18, 1963. Gideon won the trial over Wainwright. The judges were all in favor of Gideon, giving him a clean sweep across the board, 9-0. Due to this case, the United States government passed the Sixth Amendment, which is " guarantees the rights of criminal defendants, including the right to a public trial without unnecessary delay, the right to a lawyer, the right to an impartial jury, and the right to know who your accusers are and the nature of the charges and evidence against you". 
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