“Truth never damages a cause that is just.”
Mahatma Gandhi

In this writing, I would like to shortly summarise the narrative of Gideon’s Trumpet; then, mention why the case is important for law and justice.

Firstly, Clarence Earl Gideon, 51 years old, was jailed for accusing to steal money from a cigarette machine because he was founded with a lot of coins in his pocket. The story is starting with this event that he should demonstrate that he is innocent. In the first trial, he could not have a lawyer because of economic difficulties so he was obliged to defend himself as an ordinary citizen since the case was not a crucial crime “robbery”. At this time, US government had been providing a lawyer to the suspects, only if they had some mental diseases (so they could not defend themselves).  This trial was not fair because it is obvious that an ordinary citizen may not know about law, rules and legal defence. He was sentenced for 5 years in prison.

Secondly, he started to fight for a public lawyer in prison, and tried to learn about the legal rights in prison. Then, he realised a significant thing that could change the all conditions that every person has a right to attorney in a criminal case, even if he or she cannot afford one. However, at first, he declined the process of trial so The Supreme Court of US did not guaranteed anything. Therefore, he decided to contact with The Supreme Court and ask for a jury for his trial. Happily, this desire was accepted and the other trials started with a competent and determined lawyer “Fred Turner”.  From this point, he had a fair trial so the process was going in a right way. Andrew Cohen (March,2013) states that suspect’s fair trial rights; prosecutors around the country urged them to do so; and when Gideon got his second trial, this time with a seasoned lawyer, his quick acquittal struck home the value of the right which had just been recognised.

They achieved their purpose, not only proving the innocence, but the importance of seeking the justice. ***On January 8, 1962 Clarence Earl Gideon filed a handwritten petition with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking the reversal of his conviction for petty larceny because he had not been appointed an attorney to represent him at his trial. The result of his petition was the declaration by the Supreme Court that “lawyers in criminal cases are necessities, not luxuries.”

To sum up, as I mentioned before, this narrative mostly gives us ideas about right to fair judgement process. On the other hand, we can see that constitution and law should be clear enough for everyone to know what are included in his/her rights which are preserves him/her against or before the state. Finally, the judgement process should proceed in a true way, in this sense judges and prosecutors, who manage all judgement, have an enormous role in the process and should be careful as possible as.

***By Rich Meehan on May 31, 2012

***Gideon’s Trumpet TV Series


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