Case Brief Of Gideon Vs Brady

872 Words4 Pages


CITATION: 372 U.S. 335


On 3 June 1961, a burglary took place at Bay Harbor pool room in Panama, Florida. An individual broke into that place, damaged all the things and stole money from the cash register. A witness identified the person as Clarence Earl Gideon. He was arrested and charged for burglary. He appeared in the court and requested the court to appoint him an attorney as he was indigent. The court declined his request as it was not a capital offense and stated that only indigents involved in capital offense had the right to request for an attorney. Gideon proceeded as his own counsel in the trial. In the end of the trial he was found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison. …show more content…

The Florida supreme court did not accept his petition but he later appealed to the US supreme court and this time he was successful. He was granted Habeas Corpus as the same problem of appointing a counsel for indigents existed for a long time since a similar case Betts v Brady was tried. In the case Betts v Brady, the same situation existed and he was denied counsel when he requests the court. The US supreme court appointed Gideon an attorney and granted certiorari.

Did the state court’s failure to appoint counsel for Gideon violate his right to a fair trial and due process of law as protected by the 6th and 14th amendments?

3.Court Decision:
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme court confirmed that Gideon should have been granted a court-appointed counsel and it is a Fundamental Right according to the 6th Amendment which should be applicable to the states as well. The court finally overturned the decision in Betts v. Brady case. Three justices namely Tom C. Clark, William O. Douglas and John M. Harlan provided their concurring opinions. The decision was unanimous and all the justices were in favor. No one …show more content…

Gideon was convicted for burglary in the state of Florida for stealing money from the cash registry of a pool room. He was arrested and brought to the court where he requested for a court appointed attorney but the court declined his request and let him be his own attorney. He lost the trial and was sent to prison for 5 years.
From the prison he wrote a writ for Habeas Corpus and was given a trial at the US supreme court. This time he was granted a court appointed attorney. His request was taken into consideration because this problem of having a court appointed attorney prevailed since the time a similar case Betts v. Brady started. Justice Black stated that court gave a wrong verdict in the Betts v. Brady case.
According to the 6th amendment every man has the right to be granted a counsel regardless of what kind of case it was. The reason being a layman is not accustomed with all the rules and regulations regarding the submission of evidences and proofs.
Justice Black basically meant to say that Gideon’s conviction was not just as every citizen has the right according to the 6th amendment to be granted a counsel.

5.Concurring Opinion:(by Justice

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