'Gideon' at 50: A Muted Trumpet
Fifty years after the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision, the guarantee of right to counsel remains unrealized.
The U.S. Supreme Court's March 18, 1963, ruling in Gideon v. Wainwright requiring state-funded legal representation to criminal defendants who cannot afford it has amounted to a massive unfunded mandate, one that states have struggled with and sometimes resisted ever since. Still, there are signs of incremental improvement, with key court decisions in Missouri and new ideas for ways to mend the system with minimal costs. Read The National Law Journal's complete Gideon package here.