Clarence Earl Gideon was the criminal defendant in the famous case Gideon v. Wain-wright (1963). Gideon allegedly broke into a Florida pool hall to steal money. This criminal act earned him felony charges and later a conviction in Florida state court. In the beginning of the case, Gideon asked the court for a lawyer. The trial judge responded that under Florida law the only criminal defendants entitled to a court-appointed lawyer were those defendants facing capital (death penalty) charges. Gideon insisted that the United States Supreme Court says I am entitled to be represented by Counsel.
Gideon appealed his case all the way to the United States Supreme Court. The Court accepted his case for review and appointed him a Washington, D.C.-based attorney named Abe Fortas to represent Gideon before the Court. Ironically, Fortas later became a United States Supreme Court Justice.
As alluded to earlier, Gideon’s case spurred action by the U.S. Congress which required in every federal judicial district a system to create proper legal representation for criminal defendants.
- Who appoints an attorney for a criminal defendant?
- What is a bail bondsman?
- How does a court determine if bail is excessive?
- What factors do courts use to determine whether someone is entitled to bail and what amount?
- Are all persons charged with crimes entitled to bail?
- What are the purposes or reasons for bail?
- What is bail?
- Is there a difference between the initial appearance and the arraignment?
- After a person is booked, what happens next?
- Is a person entitled to an attorney during the booking process?
- When a person is arrested and taken into custody, what happens next?
- What warnings must the police give you when they arrest you and place you in custody?
- What is an arrest?
- How does the criminal process begin?
- What felonies can lead to the death penalty?
- What are some examples of how states define first degree murder?
- What is a wobbler?
- What are the legal results of a felony conviction?
- What are examples of crimes that constitute felonies?
- Who determines whether conduct constitutes a felony or a misdemeanor?