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Gideon v. Wainwright

Significance, Court Unanimously Votes To Overturn Betts V. Brady, The Warren Court, Further Readings


Clarence Earl Gideon


Louie L. Wainwright, Director, Division of Corrections

Appellant's Claim

That the Sixth Amendment requires states to provide legal counsel for impoverished criminal defendants charged with serious offenses.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Abe Fortas

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Bruce R. Jacob

Justices for the Court

Hugo Lafayette Black (writing for the Court), William J. Brennan, Jr., Tom C. Clark, William O. Douglas, Arthur Goldberg, John Marshall Harlan II, Potter Stewart, Earl Warren, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting



Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

18 March 1963


Declaring that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment makes the Sixth Amendment right to counsel binding on the states, the Supreme Court unanimously voted to order that Gideon be assigned a court-appointed lawyer and retried.

Related Cases

  • Betts v. Brady, 316 U.S. 455 (1942).
  • Argersinger v. Hamlin, 407 U.S. 25 (1972).
  • Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984).


West's Encyclopedia of American Law, Volume 10. Minneapolis, MN: West Publishing, 1998.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972