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...

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