Gideon 50th Anniversary

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Gideon 50th anniversary celebration held in San Francisco on July 27, 2012

On January 8, 1962, the Clerk of the United States Supreme Court received a handwritten petition from Clarence Earl Gideon asking the Court to overturn his conviction for theft because he had not been appointed a lawyer to represent him in his criminal trial. That petition began the landmark case of Gideon v. Wainwright, in which the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously declared the "obvious truth" that "lawyers in criminal court are necessities, not luxuries."   

In Gideon, the Supreme Court acknowledged that defense lawyers are integral to justice. There is no justice without a defense, and no defense without a defense lawyer. 

To commemorate the Golden Anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, the Foundation for Criminal Justice hosted a Gala at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California, in conjunction with NACDL's 2012 Annual Meeting.

All proceeds from this event will be used to fund NACDL projects designed to ensure that all those facing prosecution receive quality representation at every phase of a criminal case. 

We thank those who joined us as we marked this historic anniversary, honored the heroic work of defense lawyers, and reaffirmed our commitment to seeing the noble idea of Gideon put into practice.

Courtesy of the law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP, you can find the Gideon trial transcript here, and the transcript of the retrial of Mr. Gideon here. 

If you could not attend the gala, you can still honor Gideon’s 50th Anniversary and make a donation to the FCJ. All such donations will be used to support NACDL projects designed to ensure that all those facing prosecution receive quality representation at every phase of a criminal case.

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