Gideon Vs. Wainwright
Gideon Vs Wainwright
Before 1963 if a person was convicted of a crime in the United States, they could only have a lawyer appointed to them if they had committed a capital offense.
Clarence Earl Gideon was charged for breaking into the Bay Harbor pool house and robbing the place. There was a witness that said he did it, but Gideon claimed innocence. Since his crime was not of a capital offense, he was not allowed a lawyer to be appointed to him, and he could not afford one. So, when he went to trial, he tried to defend himself against a lawyer. He was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison.
While in prison, he began to do research, and began taking the steps that changed the court system in the United States.
He wrote a petition to the Supreme Court, and after some correspondence, the Supreme Court decided to hear him out. After the legalities, it was set that if a person were to ask for a lawyer, they were to have one appointed to him/her.
Over 2,000 inmates were retried and released from jail, but Gideon was not one of them. He was offered two lawyers from Miami, but turned them down. Instead, he chose my uncle, Fred Turner.
Fred Turner picked apart the testimonials, and found loopholes in the witnesses. It turned out that the real criminals was a group of teenage boys who had been partying in a town nearby.
Gideon was released. More...