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Attorney General Eric Holder on legacy of Gideon vs. Wainwright


Attorney General Eric Holder gave a speech giving credit to defenders on the 50th Anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright. This was the landmark case that ruled that state courts under the Fourteenth Amendment must provide counsel to defendants of criminal cases who are unable to afford attorneys on their own. The case began from a 1961 burglary in Panama City, Florida where money was stolen from a pool room cash register. A witness claimed to have seen Clarence Earl Gideon in the room at 5:30 in the morning. Gideon was arrested and in court could not afford counsel.

Gideon served as his own defense counsel. Upon being found guilty, he used the prison library to petition the Supreme Court in a suit against H.G. Cochran, Secretary to the Florida Department of Corrections. The court assigned him Abe Fortas, a prominent Washington, D.C. attorney and future Supreme Court associate justice. The final decision in favor of Gideon was delivered by Justice Hugo Black.

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St Petersburg/Tampa Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Anne F. Borghetti

Phone: 727.502.0300

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Clearwater, FL 33762

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Tampa, FL 33626
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