Gideon v. Wainwright: The Right to Free Counsel

By Ron Fridell | Go to book overview

TWO
GIDEON GETS A LAWYER

SUPREME COURT APPEALS are argued by lawyers for the two sides, Petitioner and respondent. This time Gideon would have a lawyer to argue his case. The Supreme Court appoints a lawyer, free of charge, for any indigent prisoner whose appeal they accept. On June 22, 1962, the justices held a conference to decide on who that lawyer would be.

Whoever they chose for Gideon, he or she would receive a very small amount of money. The Court would pay the lawyer's transportation costs between home and Washington, D.C., and the printing costs for the brief the lawyer would have to prepare and present to the court.

But that would be all. There would be no money for the many hours that would go into preparing the brief and making the argument before the nine justices. On the other hand, arguing a case before the U.S. Supreme Court would be a huge honor and could mean a big boost to a lawyer's career.

The justices decided to appoint Abe Fortas, a partner in Arnold, Fortas, & Porter, one of Washington, D.C.'s largest and most highly respected law firms. Gideon could not have wished for better counsel. Fortas not only had experience arguing cases before the Court, he also firmly believed in the principles that Gideon's case stood for.

-21-

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Gideon v. Wainwright: The Right to Free Counsel
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Introduction 7
  • One - How It All Began 11
  • Two - Gideon Gets a Lawyer 21
  • Three - A Look at the Past 31
  • Four - Betts V. Brady 44
  • Five - Beyond Betts 48
  • Six - The Briefs 56
  • Seven - Amicus Curiae 72
  • Eight - The Oral Argument 79
  • Nine - The Ruling 91
  • Ten - Reactions 103
  • Eleven - Gideon Today 109
  • Twelve - Gideon's Fate 116
  • Notes 125
  • Further Information 134
  • Bibliography 137
  • Index 139
  • About the Author 144
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