Affirming the right to representation


When Clarence Earl Gideon was accused of breaking and entering in Florida, he requested—but was denied—legal representation. Gideon was found guilty. On January 5, 1962, he submitted this petition to overturn the conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court. It ruled that the 14th Amendment required the “assistance of counsel as a fundamental right essential to a fair trial” and sent Gideon’s case back to the Florida court.

National Archives, Records of the Supreme Court of the United States