Free Paper Samples

We have a large team of skilled writers to choose from to complete your order.

Case: Gideon v. Wainwright 372 U.S. 335, 83S. Ct. 792 (1963)

Facts: Gideon was charged with breaking into a poolroom in a Florida state court. His intent was to carry out a misdemeanor, something that is considered a felony under Florida law (Prentzas, 2009). When he appeared before the state Court, Gideon informed the court that he was poverty-stricken, requesting the Court to appoint him a lawyer, and asserting that he was entitled to representation by counsel. The Court then informed Gideon that according to Florida law, only poor clients charged with capital offenses are allowed to court appointed counsel (Prentzas, 2009). It is here that Gideon proceeded to a jury trial, made an opening declaration, cross-examined the State’s witnesses, and called his individual witnesses. He also refused to give evidence himself and made a closing argument (Prentzas, 2009).

While serving his sentence, Gideon filed an appeal for habeas corpus attacking his conviction and sentence on the basis of the trial court’s rejection to warrant him counsel denied his constitutional rights and rights allowed to him under the Bill of Rights (Prentzas, 2009). The Florida State Supreme Court denied relief. Furthermore, since the issue of an accused person’s constitutional right to an advocate in state court continued to be a controversial subject since Betts v. Brady, the U.S. Supreme Court approved certiorari to again evaluation the issue (Prentzas, 2009).

Issue: The main issue in this particular case was whether or not the 6th Amendment constitutional requirement that poverty-stricken defendants be allowed an attorney is so important and crucial to a just trial that it is made compulsory on the states by the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Holding: It was held that the right to counsel is an important right essential to a just trial and due process law (Prentzas, 2009).

Rationale/Reasoning: The Bill of Rights that are ‘important and crucial’ to a just assessment are included to the states via the Fourteenth Amendment. This includes the 6th Amendment right to advocate. In Betts v. Brady, 316 U.S. 455 (1963), the court presumed the state’s rejection to assign an attorney was not a breach of the basic doctrine of justness and no due procedure breach took place (Prentzas, 2009).

The Florida Court held the notion that the Betts judgment should actually be canceled, not since it is not an appropriate legislation, but since it is not unswerving with the then obtainable precedent. Additionally, in Powell v. Alabama, 287 U.S. 45 (1932), the court affirmed that the 6th Amendment right to an attorney is a basic right (Prentzas, 2009).

As a consequence, the Court ought to recognize the 6th Amendment right as basic to a just assessment as it needs the states to give an accused a skilled lawyer who is always in attendance at trial.

Concurring Opinion(s) Reasoning: Justice Tom Clark concurred and acknowledged that the 6th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution clearly required appointment of an attorney in ‘all criminal prosecutions’ and that the 14th Amendment of the Constitution requires allocation of an attorney in all prosecutions for capital crimes (Prentzas, 2009). Justice Clark further wraps up that the U.S. Constitution makes no difference between noncapital and capital cases. The 14th Amendment requires due process of law for the lack of freedom just as equally as it does for deprival of life. Therefore, there cannot be a constitutional difference in the value of the process founded simply on the sanction to be obligatory.