March 18, 2013, will mark the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision Gideon v. Wainwright.
In it the court ruled that the 14th amendment requires state courts to provide counsel to defendants in felony criminal cases if they are unable to hire an attorney.
For more about the case, see:
- Gideon’s Legacy (site launched by the American Council of Chief Defenders to commemorate the 50th anniversary)
- Oral History Interviews – Gideon v. Wainwright (National Equal Justice Library – Georgetown Law School)
- Gideon’s Trumpet (book by Anthony Lewis)
- Gideon’s Trumpet (film production based on the book)
- Gideon’s Legacy: Taking Pedagogical Inspiration from the Briefs that Made History (rhetorical study of the party briefs)
Many years before Gideon was decided, Connecticut, in 1917, became the first state in the country to adopt a public defender system on a statewide basis.
For more about Connecticut’s public defender system and its history, see:
- Division of Public Defender Services – Connecticut as Pioneer
- Connecticut Public Defenders, David Mars, 33 Conn. Bar Journal 297 (1959)
- The Public Defender: A Possible Answer to Criminal Defense Criticism, Reinhart L. Gideon, 9 Conn. Bar Journal 307 (1935)