Gideon's Trumpet Essay

3157 Words Mar 17th, 2014 13 Pages
Gideon’s Trumpet, by: Anthony Lewis

Clarence Earl Gideon was born on August 30, 1910 in Missouri. Gideon lost his father when he was three years old. His home life was non existent as he ran away from home when he finished eighth grade and started living his life as a homeless drifter. By the time that Gideon reached the age of sixteen he had an extensive list of petty crimes. At age eighteen he was arrested in Missouri and convicted of robbery, larceny and burglary. Gideon was sentenced to ten years in prison but was released in 1932 after serving three years.
Gideon would spend most of the next thirty years in poverty and in and out of prison. Throughout this time he was married four times, the first three marriages ended
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Mr. Harris (William E. Harris, Assistant State Attorney): The State is ready your Honor. The Court: What says the Defendant? Are you ready to go to trial?
The Defendant: I am not ready your Honor.
The Court: Did you plead not guilty to this charge by reason of insanity?
The Defendant: No Sir.
The Court: Why aren’t you ready?
The Defendant: I have no counsel.
The Court: Why do you not have counsel? Did you not know that your case was set for trial today?
The Defendant: Yes sir, I knew that it was set for trial today.
The Court: Why, then, did you not secure counsel and be prepared to go to trial?
The Defendant: I request this Court to appoint counsel to represent me in this trial.
The Court: Mr. Gideon, I am sorry, but I cannot appoint counsel to represent you in this case. Under the laws of the State of Florida, the only time the court can appoint counsel to represent the Defendant is when the person is charged with a capital offense. I am sorry, but I will have to deny your request to appoint counsel to defend this case.

The words uttered by Judge McCrary seemed to be so foreign to Gideon. In his mind he could not understand why he could not have counsel, with the limited eighth grade education that he held he assumed that the Bill of Rights and somewhere in the Constitution of the United States, he, a poor man, was entitled to have a lawyer help in his defense. Gideon, having been

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