In making this ruling, the Supreme Court was particularly in support of the Powell vs. Alabama ruling and criticizing the ruling made in the Betts v. Brady. Bets v. Brady had ruled that the right to a state counsel solely depended on the circumstances. The Gideon V Wainwright ruling emphasized that the right to a state counsel was a fundamental right entrenched in the constitution, a key ingredient to a fair trial. The court clarified that this was to be applied indiscriminately. Provision of free legal counsel to defendants who cannot afford should be extended even to non capital offences.
Justice Hugo Black presented the ruling in the Supreme Court, a similar opinion had been held by both Justice Harlan and Clark. The case was forwarded to the supreme court of Florida urging it to make a ruling that was “inconsistent on the said decision”. Gideon’s appeal was successful and he was retried, being provided with an attorney by the state. He was acquitted, bringing an end to one of the most important court cases regarding the United States constitution (Van Alstyne, William W, 622). Prior to the Gideon vs.
Wainwright court case, the issue had been reigning in court with the defendants asking to be provided with an attorney. There was a court ruling in 1942, where a Maryland court denied a defendant a free attorney because his case was not within the “special circumstance”. In Gideon vs. Wainwright case, all the court members or justices ruled on the appeal unanimously. Earl Waren was the chief justice then. Associate justices ranged from Arthur Goldberg Clark, J. Marshall, William J. B, William O. D, Hugo Black, B. White, and Potter S. Analysts view is that prior to the ruling chief Justice Earl Warren was committed to seeing the issue clarified under his tenure .
Gideon provided him with a perfect opportunity. Justice Clark opinion was that the United States was indiscriminate as to which circumstances or defendants should be provided with an attorney (Beaney, William, 1153). Justice Harlan was of the view that any criminal offence was an enough circumstance for the provision of a counsel. All the justices were in agreement that the right to a counsel was a important to a fair trial.
The Gideon vs. Wainwright ruling had a large impact on the American government and the judicial system. This ruling consequently created a need for the expansion of the public defenders. States went further and introduced training for the public defendants to ensure that defendants that could not afford own attorneys had access to competent counsels. This case was a blessing in disguise to the poor in the American society who mostly lacked the benefits of a fair trial as they could not afford one or the offences did not qualify a state provision.
This has gone further to introducing reforms in the judicial sector by emphasizing the right to a fair trial as a basic necessity in the courts.
Van Alstyne, William W. In Gideon’s Wake: Harsher Penalties and the “Successful” Criminal Appellant. The Yale Law Journal, Vol. 74; 606-639. Beaney, William. The Right to Counsel: Past, Present, and Future, Virginia Law Review. 1963; 1153. Van Alstyne, William W. “In Gideon’s Wake: Harsher Penalties and the “Successful” Criminal Appellant. ” The Yale Law Journal, Vol. 74, pp. 606-639.