Gideon V. Wainwright Case Study

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Gideon v. Wainwright was a very important case for the Supreme Court; it guaranteed the same kind of fair trial in state courts as was expected in federal courts. In 1961 Clarence Gideon was denied an attorney in a state court and he appealed to the Supreme Court arguing this was violating his constitutional right to a fair trial. This was going against a previous decision by a Federal Court of Appeals in 1941. The Supreme Court accepted Gideon's petition and reviewed the decision of the Court of Appeals. In 1963 the Supreme Court decided in favor of Gideon and overruled the previous decision changing the precedent for all state courts. The decision stated that the sixth amendment applied to states and now we are (Krajicek, Clarence Gideon …show more content…

The court denied him a lawyer because at the time Florida State law said that only criminals charged with capital offenses could request a lawyer. Gideon went to court without a lawyer. He acted as his own defense. Gideon did his best, bringing forward all the evidence and witnesses he could. Despite his best efforts, Gideon lost the trial and was sentenced to five years in prison (the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, 2014). Gideon requested that the Florida Supreme Court review his case on the grounds that the court had violated his constitutional rights by denying him an attorney. The Florida Supreme Court denied his petition because a US Federal Court of Appeals had decided that states were not bound by the sixth amendment in 1941. He wrote another petition to the Supreme Court of the United States. He asked them to reconsider the 1941 decision and hear his case. The Supreme Court accepted Gideon's petition and decided to overrule the previous precedent in favor of Gideon (the Administrative Office of the U.S. …show more content…

Brady case. It was a very similar case to Gideon's that had occurred twenty years earlier. Betts was charged with robbery in Maryland. In court he requested that the judge appoint a lawyer to him because he could not afford one on his own. The court did not provide one because traditionally they only appointed attorneys for defendants charged with murder or rape in that county. In this case a Federal Court of Appeals decide that the sixth amendment did not apply to state courts meaning that states did not have to provide lawyers for defendants (Chicago-Kent College of Law,

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