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Scott v. Illinois

Significance, An Open-and-shut Case?, Legal Precedents, Interpreting Argersinger, Impact


Aubrey Scott


State of Illinois

Petitioner's Claim

That the state of Illinois's failure to supply him with legal counsel for his trial on a shoplifting charge violated his Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process of law.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

John S. Elson

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Gerri Papushkewych

Justices for the Court

Warren E. Burger, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William H. Rehnquist (writing for the Court), Potter Stewart, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, John Paul Stevens


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

5 March 1979


Upheld the decisions of the Illinois Intermediate Appellate Court and the Illinois Supreme Court, denying the petitioner's claim and holding that the right of due process does not extend to criminal cases in which no prison term is imposed.

Related Cases

  • Powell v. Alabama, 287 U.S. 45 (1932).
  • Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 U.S. 458 (1938).
  • Betts v. Brady, 316 U.S. 455 (1942).
  • Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963).
  • Argersinger v. Hamlin, 407 U.S. 25 (1972).

Further Readings

  • Biskupic, Joan, and Elder Witt, eds. Guide to the Supreme Court of the United States. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 1997.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980