Gideon V Wainwright Case Summary

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The Sixth amendment guarantees that “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.” However, originally most people handled their own cases, though some sought the advice of the small pool of attorneys. Even when lawyers were present, they were only required to appear in court. Now, attorneys are required to be involved from the time the defendant is questioned by law enforcement. However, some people cannot afford to pay for an attorney to act in their best interest. In that case, defense is provided to the accused on behalf of the government. This was established in Powell v. Alabama (1932) in which 9 black men were accused of raping two white women on a train in Alabama. The defendants were uneducated and poor with little chance of not being convicted. Alabama state law allowed for government appointed attorneys in capital cases (rape was punishable by death at the time), but no lawyer would accept the appointment. An out of state attorney arrived shortly before the trial and, with no time to prepare, the defendants were convicted. The Supreme Court ruled that the men did not have meaningful legal representation and reversed the decision, but restricted the right to government council to extreme situations. The Court declined to expand that right to state criminal courts in Betts v. Brady (1942), in which extreme circumstances were not …show more content…
Wainwright, the right to counsel was reexamined completely. Clarence Gideon was charged with breaking and entering and was not provided a lawyer because he was not charged with a capital crime. Gideon self-appealed to the Supreme Court, which extended the right to counsel. It held that the Sixth Amendment guaranteed right to council as fundamental to a fair trial. Also, the fact that Gideon was accused of a felony, and therefore faced considerable jail time factored into the decision. Druggz is also facing multiple felonies and lengthy prison

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