The Champion

June 2012 , Page 8 

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The Gideon timeline

By Editor


August 30 

Clarence Earl Gideon born in Hannibal, Missouri.


June 3 

Gideon arrested on suspicion of breaking into poolroom in Panama City, Florida.

August 4 

Pro se defendant Gideon denied appointed counsel, convicted of felony breaking and entering and misdemeanor theft.

August 26 

Gideon sentenced to five years for breaking and entering, a felony, and misdemeanor theft of wine, beer, and coins from cigarette machine and jukebox.


January 8 

Gideon’s handwritten petition for certiorari arrived at the U.S. Supreme Court. It was Gideon’s second petition; the first failed to include a pauper’s affidavit.

March 8 

Supreme Court orders Florida to respond to petition for certiorari.

April 9 

Florida attorney general files brief in opposition to petition for certiorari.

June 4 

Certiorari granted. Question Presented: Should Betts v. Brady be reconsidered?

June 22 

Abe Fortas appointed by the Supreme Court to represent Gideon.


January 15 

Oral argument (two and one-half hours) in Gideon v. Wainwright.

March 18 

Gideon v. Wainwright decided. Held: Assistance of counsel is a fundamental right essential to a fair trial; Gideon’s conviction is reversed.

May 15 

Florida Supreme Court orders new trial for Gideon.

August 5 

Two years after first trial, Gideon, represented by Fred Turner, is found not guilty.


January 18 

Clarence Earl Gideon died.

Photos: (Gideon’s portrait) Arnold & Porter; (Gideon’s mug shoot) State Archives of Florida; (Abe Fortas) Library of Congress; (Supreme Court) John Wesley Hall; (Gideon’s gravestone) Daniel Dodson

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