Gideon's Trumpet

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Gideon’s Trumpet

On the morning of January 8th 1962, the Supreme Court received mail from prisoner 003826 of Florida State Prison, also known as Clarence Earl Gideon. In the envelope contained a hand written letter with questionable grammar from Gideon claiming that he was denied a fair trial due to the absence of a lawyer. Gideon’s writ of certiorari was an in forma pauperis petition or pauper’s petition. Due to the fact that most paupers’ petitions are from inmates who do not have the legal means to properly file a certiorari, the Court had special methods of handling cases such as Gideon’s. Paupers’ petitions according to Justice Frankfurter were “almost unintelligible and certainly do not present a clear statement of issues necessary for our understanding”(Lewis 35). It is reasonable to assume that the Court would not spend an exorbitant amount of time going through mounds of paupers’ petitions trying to find a case that seemed presentable. Statistically, about thirteen percent of petitions for certiorari on the regular docket are paupers’ petitions. In addition, only three percent of paupers’ petitions end up being granted. Nevertheless, Gideon’s case was treated just as equally as any other in forma pauperis case. Gideon’s handwritten documents were held for a month until Florida authorities replied to petition. A month passed by and Gideon’s petition was mailed to the office of Chief Justice Earl Warren in 1962. A conference was held in June to discuss whether or not Gideon’s petition should be granted. Gideon’s case was granted three days after the conference and from that day forward Gideon’s fight for justice would ensue. In the eyes of Gideon, an attorney was a fundamental right of due process. However, his biggest ch...

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...ntil attorneys ensure justice for each case of the poor and vulnerable. Until then, the fundamental and essential right to fairness and justice established by Gideon v. Wainwright will continue to be questioned.

Works Cited

Lewis, Anthony. Gideon's Trumpet. New York: Random House, 1964. Print.
"Facts and Case Summary: Gideon v. Wainwright." USCOURTSGOV RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.
"'Gideon v. Wainwright', Fifty Years Later | The Nation." 'Gideon v. Wainwright', Fifty Years Later | The Nation. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2014.
"Gideon v. Wainwright." LII / Legal Information Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2014.
"Overloaded Public Defense Systems Result in More Prison Time, Less Justice." — Justice Policy Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2014.
"3Qs: The Last Impact Of Historic Gideon Ruling." News Northeastern. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2014.

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