Gideon v. Wainwright

(1963)

Document Text

The Sixth Amendment provides, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right … to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.” We have construed this to mean that in federal courts counsel must be provided for defendants unable to employ counsel unless the right is competently and intelligently waived.

We accept Betts v. Brady’s assumption, based as it was on our prior cases, that a provision of the Bill of Rights which is “fundamental and essential to a fair trial” is made obligatory upon the States by the Fourteenth Amendment. We think the Court in...

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