Criminal Justice: Gideon's Impact

Few Supreme Court decisions have been so universally admired as Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), which reversed the burglary conviction of Clarence Gideon, a Florida indigent, because he had been denied free counsel at his trial. The Constitution entitles every defendant to a lawyer, said the court.

Why jeopardize him because he can not afford one?

All American courts were ordered to provide lawyers for indigents in trials of serious crimes, and since 60% of all defendants are indigents, the decision was bound to have enormous impact.

Moreover, the Supreme Court not only made Gideon...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!