Summary Of The Supreme Court Case Of Gideon V. Wainwright

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When people think of how government works, unless they’ve taken a government class, they usually think of Congress making laws and the President doing pretty much everything else. No one pays much attention to the Supreme Court unless there is a landmark case or something else to grab the news — like the recent death of Justice Antonin Scalia. But the Supreme Court does much more than you’d think regarding keeping the political machine running like a well-oiled … machine. Through not only interpretation of the law, but also judicial activism, the Supreme Court shows it can have as much influence over the laws of the land as either of the other branches of the federal government. In this paper, I will analyze the decision-making methods of the Court using the cases of Gideon v. Wainwright and Betts v. Brady.…show more content…
Clarence Earl Gideon was an indigent living in Florida who was accused of breaking into the Bay Harbor Poolroom in Panama City, Florida with the intention to commit petty larceny. He had to represent himself at trial since he was poor and Florida did not provide state-funded attorneys for indigents. Once the case was taken up by the Supreme Court, it was affirmed by unanimous decision that anyone had a right to counsel. In Betts v. Brady which Gideon’s case overturned, Betts was an indigent accused of robbery who, when he asked for counsel at his trial, was denied. He later appealed his case up the court system and eventually to the Supreme Court on the grounds that, due to such actions, he had been held illegally. The verdict in Betts v. Brady was that indigent defendants in non-capital state cases were only obligated to be provided with counsel in special

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