Gideon Exceptionalism?

By Blume, John H.; Johnson, Sheri Lynn | The Yale Law Journal, June 2013 | Go to article overview

Gideon Exceptionalism?


Blume, John H., Johnson, Sheri Lynn, The Yale Law Journal


ESSAY CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

  I. THE GIDEON REVOLUTION
     A. The Decision
     B. How Do I Love Gideon? Let Me Count the Ways

 II. GIDEON'S PERSISTENCE
     A. Mapp v. Ohio's Contraction
     B. Miranda v. Arizona's Contraction
     C. Wade v. United States's Limitation
     D. Gideon's Expansion

III. THE SHAM(E) OF INEFFECTIVE COUNSEL
     A. The Importance of Adequate Assistance of Defense Counsel
     B. The Legal Standard for Adequate Assistance
     C. Judicial Approval of Inadequate Assistance

 IV. COUNSEL'S NEED FOR ASSISTANCE

CONCLUSION

INTRODUCTION

There is no doubt that Gideon v. Wainwright (1) is extraordinary. But extraordinariness can come in more than one flavor. In thinking about Gideon, we were reminded of "American exceptionalism," and the diametrically opposed meanings that advocates have ascribed to the phrase. American exceptionalism posits that the United States is qualitatively different from other countries, primarily because it has a specific world mission to spread democracy and liberty.

The related image of the United States as a biblical "citty upon a hill" has deep roots, stemming from a sermon by John Winthrop to the Puritan colonists in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. (2) The phrase "American exceptionalism," however, is bipolar, having been employed almost as frequently to disparage as to laud. It became popular in the 1920s when Stalin used it to chastise American communists who heretically claimed that America's superior resources and lack of class distinctions freed it from Marxist laws of history. (3) However, American conservatives and eventually neoconservatives came to use the term-along with the image of the "shining city on the hill" (4)--to assert superiority and exemption from both the historical forces and rigid class immobility that have affected other countries. (5) That view, in turn, has prompted a fierce backlash in this century, including both normative objections that the morally tainted history of the United States precludes any role as an exemplar of virtue, (6) and positive arguments that social mobility in the United States is less than it is in many other countries. (7)

We don't pretend to have any expertise on American exceptionalism, but we do see parallels to our own thinking about Gideon. However, unlike the participants in the American exceptionalism debates, we have trouble deciding whether we find the laudatory or the disparaging meaning of "Gideon exceptionalism" more compelling. As set forth below, we think Gideon is both a "shining city on a hill" in the world of criminal procedure, and something of a sham. Part I sets forth the extraordinary features of the decision itself, and Part II echoes the aspirational meaning of "Gideon exceptionalism," laying out how the decision has survived largely intact, in sharp comparison to other landmark Warren Court criminal procedure decisions. Part III reverses course, examining how the law of ineffective assistance of counsel renders Gideon's "shining city" illusory for many defendants. Part IV concludes by explaining how the routine denial of investigative and expert assistance to indigent defendants further undercuts Gideon's promise.

I. THE GIDEON REVOLUTION

A. The Decision

Prior to Gideon, the Supreme Court had held that due process required states to provide counsel for indigent defendants under certain narrow circumstances. In 1932, in Powell v. Alabama, faced with well-known and outrageous facts, the Court held that "in a capital case, where the defendant is unable to employ counsel, and is incapable adequately of making his own defense because of ignorance, feeble-mindedness, illiteracy, or the like, it is the duty of the court, whether requested or not, to assign counsel for him." (8)

But later, in Betts v. Brady, (9) the Court explicitly held that the Due Process Clause did not incorporate the Sixth Amendment guarantee of the right to counsel against the states.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Gideon Exceptionalism?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.