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Gideon V. Negligence Case Study

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The year is 1963, and Clarence Earl Gideon is falsely accused of a crime. Under Florida law, being charged with breaking and entering with the intent to commit a misdemeanor is a felony, and Mr. Gideon was the unfortunate victim here (Facts par 2). Like many Americans of his time, Clarence had only an eighth education (Facts par 1). He roamed in and out of prisons, which explains why he was poor (Facts par 1). Lacking the funds to pay an attorney, Clarence requested the judge to appoint him one (Facts par 2). By law, the judge could not fulfill his request, because the crime he is accused of was not a capital offense (Facts par 2). This left him with one choice: to be his own attorney. Despite not having a lawyer to defend him, Mr. Gideon held…show more content…
Having unconvinced the jury, Clarence was subsequently found guilty with five years of jail time (Facts par 3). Knowing 2 his constitutional entitlements were violated, Mr. Gideon compiled a series of petitions in an effort to gain his right to counsel (Facts par 4-5). As a result of his righteousness, the case of Gideon v. Wainwright was born. On June 3, 1961, a suspect broke into the Bay Harbor Poolroom and stole beer, wine, and money (David J Shestokas par 10-11). This occurred around 5:30 A.M. (David J Shestokas par 11). Henry Cook, a man who happened to be on the scene, spotted Gideon leaving the pool hall with packed pockets and an arm full of wine (David J Shestokas par 11). Gideon then proceeded to call a taxi, and depart (David J Shestokas par 11). Clarence was arrested five hours later at another bar located in Panama City (David J Shestokas par 11). Unsurprisingly enough, it was for the crime he had just committed. Trial was scheduled two months later, and Clarence was unprepared (David J Shestokas par 12). This was due to the fact that he was unable to afford a lawyer (David J Shestokas par 12). Logically, Clarence…show more content…
Shown here in the case of Gideon v. Wainwright, the court took it a step further by requiring states to supply defense attorneys to all criminals who have been charged with a felony (Gideon v. Wainwright par 5). Clarence was not a free man, however, but he did obtain a fresh trial (Clarence Earl Gideon par 11). With a new attorney to represent himself, known as Abe Fortas, Clarence was found not guilty (Remembering Gideon’s Lawyers page 18). The Supreme Court was rampant with numerous opinions related to the decision. In the words of Justice Tom C. Clark, for example, “The Constitution guarantees the right to counsel as a protection of due process, and there is no reason to apply that protection in certain cases but not others.” (Body Politics par 4). I could not agree with him more. What makes a defendant more deserving of a lawyer than another? How can one attempt to deny a Constitutionally-given right? Justice Hugo L. Black was not afraid to voice his opinion as well. In his review, “That government hires lawyers to prosecute and defendants who have the money hire lawyers to defend are the strongest indications of the widespread belief that lawyers in criminal courts are necessities,
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