Taking the Pulse of Public Defense 50 Years after Gideon

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“Why aren’t you ready?” the judge asked. “I have no counsel,” Gideon replied. In 1963 the Supreme Court handed down the unanimous decision Gideon v. Wainwright, which famously established a criminal defendant’s right to free counsel. The Court clearly favored this outcome: they selected the incredibly experienced Abe Fortas to represent Clarence Earl Gideon against …

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