earl gideon

earl gideon

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  • Gideon v. Wainwright
  • In 1961 Gideon was charged with breaking into a Florida pool hall and stealing some drinks and about 5 dollars.
  • After the court refused to appoint a lawyer for Gideon, he defended himself in front of the jury. He used witnesses and he made legal arguments. The jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to five years in prison.
  • While in prison, Gideon petitioned the Supreme Court about his case. He said that the 6th Amendment gave him a right to a lawyer. The Supreme court agreed with him.
  • The Supreme Court agreed with Gideon and sent his case back to the lower court.
  • When Gideon's case was sent back to the lower court, he received a lawyer and a new jury trial. He was proven not guilty.
  • Because of this case, states must appoint a lawyer to criminal defendants who can't afford one. Public defenders are employed by the state to represent criminal defendants.
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