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The Law Ep 19, Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) - SCOTUS says that the government can not cage you unless they provide you with an attorney.

January 10, 2019


Clarence Earl Gideon was charged with a felony in a Florida state court. He asked for an attorney but was denied under the then existing Florida law. Acting pro se, he was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison. The SCOTUS, in a unanimous ruling, declared that the state can not exercise its power to jail a criminal defendant unless it provides an attorney. The Sixth Amendment “right to counsel” is actually a limitation on government power.

When he was retried, with a lawyer this time, he was acquitted after less than an hour of jury deliberation.

Gideon v. Wainwright