Gideon v. Wainwright 6

                                  Gideon v. Wainwright Essay Project
In the end, the Supreme Court decided to overturn the Betts v. Brady ruling and held that in order to
receive a fair trial...
their laws and Constitutions. The individual understanding of federal law or the Constitution of The
United States may be ...
Gideon v. Wainwright Essay Project
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Gideon v. Wainwright Essay Project


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  • I was told in Federal Court that I did not have a right to an attorney before being sent to jail because I was not charged with a crime. It turns out that I had a right to an attorney under the Bail Reform Act of 1984, but I didn't know that. DOJ held me for 124 consecutive days with no criminal charge, no evidentiary hearing, and no bail hearing. The Bail Reform Act entitled me to witnesses and an attorney. Also, I wasn't supposed to be held without bail unless I was charged with certain federal offenses.

    When I was in jail I filed multiple motions to get an attorney but they were all denied without reason. The Colorado Public Defender wrote to me in jail that he was not allowed to rep me because I wasn't charged with a crime.

    I was held without law library access. I was in a county contract jail and it did not have a copy of Title 18.

    The witnesses against me weren't sworn and I was not allowed to ask questions of them. I was only allowed a 5 minute presentation according to the judge -- Edward Nottingham. I read notes about injunctions. I had been accused of filing papers in other courts and it was claimed that there was an injunction against pro se litigation. Rule 65 hadn't been followed and I think it violated the Anti Injunction Act because the other federal court in which I had filed a Rule 60 motion was acting as a state court in diversity jurisdiction.

    The resulting mess caused me to lose my home and really messed up my children's lives. Also, because I never got a hearing on the merits on my underlying First Amendment Retaliation claim against the City of Steamboat Springs Colorado, its then president of the city council Kevin Bennett (a convicted felon) etc., local government corruption was not exposed. This caused the death of a David Engle.
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Gideon v. Wainwright Essay Project

  1. 1. Gideon v. Wainwright 6 Gideon v. Wainwright Essay Project Elizabeth Hall Kaplan University Intro To Criminal Justice CJ 101 Michael Lewis Motion Picture Summary: Gideon’s Trumpet The movie Gideon’s Trumpet (Houseman, J.. 1980.) starring Henry Fonda was about the case which started as Gideon v. Cochran, however it is better known as Gideon v. Wainwright, because Mr. Wainwright replaced Cochran as the Director of the Division of Corrections just before the Supreme Court made the decision. (Gideon v. Wainwright. 2002.) In this case, Clarence Earl Gideon, who was a man of average intelligence, was accused of breaking into a pool hall in the early hours of June 3 1961. At the time, the proper process of the criminal justice system was that the state courts had the right to decide for themselves whether they appointed defense attorneys for all cases, or just the ones with special circumstances based on the Betts v. Brady decision in which the Supreme Court held that the Fourteenth amendment did not give total right to counsel except where the lack of an attorney would end up in an abjuration of elemental fairness. Gideon asked for counsel at his trial and was denied because the state of Florida only appointed counsel to indigent prisoners if it was a capital offense, and Gideon’s crime did not qualify. The case was tried and Gideon lost, being sentenced to five years in the penitentiary. He felt like he had been railroaded, by having to defend himself and was convinced that a lawyer would have done better in his defense. When he got to the penitentiary, Gideon used the library to research what his rights were. After finding out the proper procedures, petitioned the court in forma pauperis. This means that an impoverished person would not have to pay the charges associated with filing the petition. He also included the motion he filed for a writ of habeas corpus, filed with the Florida Supreme Court, and the court’s dismissal of the motion.
  2. 2. In the end, the Supreme Court decided to overturn the Betts v. Brady ruling and held that in order to receive a fair trial, all persons accused of a crime were entitled to counsel. This resulted in Gideon receiving a new trial, with counsel, in which he was found not guilty. I found that the movie did a really good job of presenting the real facts of the case in an informative and entertaining format. Gideon v. Wainwright: Landmark Case Decision The Gideon v. Wainwright case is considered a landmark case because it is one of three cases brought before the Supreme Court that completely changed the face of the criminal justice system in America. The other two cases were: Escobedo v. Illinois, and Miranda v. Arizona. This case overturned the Betts v. Brady ruling that states only had to provide counsel to defendants when they were being charged with a capital offense. The Supreme Court held that any persons charged with a crime were undeniably afforded counsel due to the Sixth amendment due process right that no man shall be denied the right to life, liberty or property without a fair trial. Gideon felt that he had not had a fair trial due to his lack of counsel. (Gideon v. Wainwright html. 2009.) The importance of this case had far reaching effects. In today’s criminal justice system, every destitute person is allowed counsel even if they cannot afford one. Because of this ruling almost all major cities have a public defenders office, and the smaller cities adjudicators assign private trial lawyers to represent offenders who do not have the money to hire a lawyer themselves. (Gideon v. Wainwright html. 2009.) Comparison of Federal and State Courts The U. S. Constitution represents the highest court and rule of law in our country. From this is created a federal structure of authority that employs both a federal and state court system , in which authority is shared by both the state and federal government branches. Each of these braches has its own court systems. (U.S. Courts. 2009.) Article III Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution purposely creates the US Supreme Court, and names Congress as the power that creates the subordinate national federal courts. There are 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals, 94 U. S. District Courts, the U.S. Court of Claims, and the U.S. Court of International Trade. U.S. Bankruptcy Courts hear bankruptcy cases. Magistrate Judges can hear some District Court matters. Persons not satisfied with a ruling of a U.S. District Court, the U.S. Court of Claims, and/or the U.S. Court of International Trade may take their case to a U.S. Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court is the final rule of law when it comes to federal constitutional concerns (U.S. Courts. 2009.) The types of cases heard by the federal court system include: those that are concerned with the constitutionality of a law, laws and treaties of the United States, Ambassadors and civic ministers, disputes between states, bankruptcy, and Admiralty Law. (U.S. Courts. 2009.) Federal judges are designated by the President of The United States, and established by the Senate. They are usually appointed for life, and must be impeached to be detached from their post. (U.S. Courts. 2009.) The Constitution and specific laws of each state are the factors governing the laws of each state. Each state has a Supreme Court, Circuit and District courts. They also have certain courts for specialized areas such as probate, family court and others. Persons not happy with decisions in the circuit and district courts can have their cases heard by the state’s court of appeals or have the option of the State Supreme Court hearing the case. Not all cases are entitled to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. (U.S. Courts. 2009.) The cases heard by the state court system include but are not limited to: most criminal cases, probate, contract cases, and tort cases. State courts are the final law in the decisions made dealing with
  3. 3. their laws and Constitutions. The individual understanding of federal law or the Constitution of The United States may be appealed to the Supreme Court, however it in itself decides whether to hear or not hear these appeals. (U.S. Courts. 2009.) The state judges are chosen in multiple ways. These can consist of: elections, appointment for a specific number of years, or appointment for life, or any grouping of these methods. (U.S. Courts. 2009.) Cited References: Gideon v. Wainwright. (2002). Retrieved from the World Wide Web September 13, 2009 © 2002Street Law and The Supreme Court Historical Society. Gideon v. Wainwright html. (2009). Retrieved from the World Wide Web September 15, 2009 http//”>Gideon v. Wainwright – Further Readings Houseman, J. (Executive Producer), & Justman R. H. & Rintels D.W. (Co-Producers). (1980). Gideon’s Trumpet [Motion Picture]. United States: Samuel Goldwyn Studios. Gideon's Trumpet AVI (Henry Fonda Supreme Court Drama)Gideon's Trumpet 1980 Henry Fonda.avi. U.S. Courts Comparing Federal and State Court Systems Retrieved from the World Wide Web September 15, 2009 Other References: Gideon v. Wainwright. (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved September 13, 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: Wainwright The Oyez Project, Gideon v. Wainwright , 372 U.S. 335 (1963) available at: ( (last visited Monday, September 14, 2009).