The Champion

January/February 2003 , Page 39 

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In Appreciation of the ABA's Gideon Efforts

By Robert L. Spangenberg


I graduated from law school in 1961, two years before the United States Supreme Court decided Gideon v. Wainwright. Thus, during most of my legal career, I have had the honor and privilege to both participate in and observe this nation’s 40-year effort to implement the magnificent words of Justice Black who said, “The right of one charged with crime to counsel may not be deemed fundamental and essential to fair trials in some countries, but it is in ours. This noble ideal cannot be realized if the poor man charged with crime has to face his accusers without a lawyer to assist him.”

As we fast approach the 40th anniversary of Gideon, and Justice Black’s inspiring words, I pause to salute and praise the American Bar Association (ABA) for its important work over the past four decades in its efforts to lead the nation’s lawyers to fulfill the promise of Gideon.

During the many events planned in March 2003, much will be spoken and written about the “unfulfilled promise of Gideon” and t

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