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Gideon v. Wainwright | Homework Help from the Bill of Rights Institute

Does an individual have a right to a lawyer, regardless of the crime he or she is charged with? In 1961, Clarence Gideon was arrested and charged with breaking and entering and petty larceny in Panama City, Florida. His request for a state-provided defense attorney was denied since Florida law only required doing so for capital offense cases. After Gideon was sentenced to 5 years in prison, he argued that Florida violated the 6th Amendment’s guarantee of the right to counsel. The Supreme Court heard Gideon’s case, in Gideon v. Wainwright, and ruled in a 9-0 decision that the 6th Amendment’s guarantee of an attorney applies to states through the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment through incorporation.