Gideon v. Wainwright
Gideon v. Wainwright, case involving the right of a defendant in a criminal case to legal counsel. In 1963 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Clarence Gideon, an indigent convicted of burglary by a Florida court, had been wrongfully imprisoned because, not being able to afford a lawyer, he had defended himself. The Supreme Court held that all defendants in criminal cases are entitled to counsel and that attorneys must be provided for defendants who are indigent. This ruling overturned that in Betts v. Brady (1942), which had established that the right to a lawyer was not essential.