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Constitutional Law

1990

Civil Rights and Discrimination

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Gideon V. Wainwright Revisited: What Does The Right To Counsel Guarantee Today?, Michael B. Mushlin Jan 1990

Gideon V. Wainwright Revisited: What Does The Right To Counsel Guarantee Today?, Michael B. Mushlin

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

In Gideon v. Wainwright, the Supreme Court unanimously held that indigent state felony defendants are constitutionally entitled to the appointment of trial counsel. The opinion aroused wide support, and even enthusiasm, almost from the moment it was announced in 1963. Two and a half decades later this support has not diminished. However, are the words of praise only lip service to the noble idea of the right to counsel? Has Gideon really made a difference? Has its promise of a fair shake for poor criminal defendants been kept, or has Gideon meant only that defendants are provided with the fleeting ...