"Even though state and local governments are responsible for ensuring adequate counsel for defendants who cannot afford to hire their own lawyers, many people don't recieve that."
In 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Clarence Earl Gideon that the right to counsel in criminal cases was necessary to achieve a fair system of justice.
In his initial trial, Gideon represented himself because he could not afford an attorney. After his conviction was overturned, he was retried and his appointed attorney discovered new witnesses and won an acquittal.
Former Vice President Walter F. Mondale is serving as the newly formed committee's honorary chairman. In 1963, Mondale, then Minnesota's attorney general, organized 22 state attorneys general to file a friend of the court brief in favor of Gideon's right to a lawyer.
Gideon's handwritten petition to the Supreme Court is now on display at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.
Many around the country argue today that the promise of Gideon remains unfulfilled, even if an attorney has been appointed. The attorney may be handling hundreds of other cases, have no expertise in criminal law or have no funds to investigate facts or get DNA tests.
"If an obscure Florida convict named Clarence Earl Gideon had not sat down in prison with a pencil and paper to write a letter to the Supreme Court, and if the Supreme Court had not taken the trouble to look for merit in that one crude petition among all the bundles of mail it must receive every day, the vast machinery of American law would have gone on functioning undisturbed.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no facts tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Contemptible police tactics - Cops raid the home of a licensed medical marijuana provider in Washington, handcuff the fourteen year old son and put a gun to his head, and search the nineteen year old daughter and take the contents of her mickey-mouse wallet.
How To Survive Traffic Stops in America, Submit, Instantly! - What the cops want is immediate obedience and submission. Many cops are ex-military and view the civilian motorists of America about like they viewed the hapless peasants of Iraq and Afghanistan, that is, with contempt, not as fellow citizens deserving of civility and respect. It is a possibly lethal mistake to do anything other than submit, instantly and obey! Or be ready to shoot first. But aim high.