In 1961 Clarence Earl Gideon was charged with breaking and entering into a Panama City, Florida, pool hall and stealing money from the hall's vending machines. At trial, Gideon, who could not afford a lawyer himself, requested an attorney be appointed to represent him, but his request was denied. He later handwrote a postcard, appealing to the US Supreme Court. The Supreme Court heard his case and agreed in 1963 that the Constitution requires states to provide counsel to indigent defendants.
'Gideon v. Wainwright', Fifty Years Later | The Nation In its historic decision, the Supreme Court ruled that poor people have a right to a lawyer. But today, our system of indigent defense is shameful. Stephen B. Bright and Sia M. Sanneh Read more: 'Gideon v. Wainwright', Fifty Years Later | The Nation http://www.thenation.com/article/173458/gideon-v-wainwright-fifty-years-later#ixzz2ZKHo8oCv Follow us: @Steve Benson Fischer on Twitter | TheNationMagazine on Facebook