Gideon's Trumpet

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Gideon’s Trumpet
Before reading this book I was very excited to delve into it and find out what all it offered. After finishing it, I found it to be quite interesting. I learned a lot about the process that cases go through. Gideon’s trumpet is a book written by Anthony Lewis describing the story behind Gideon v. Wainwright, in which the United States Supreme Court ruled that criminal defendants have the right to an attorney even if they cannot afford it. The main character in this book is Clarence Earl Gideon. He was a fifty-one year old white man who was from the south. He believed that he was denied “due process of the law.” Gideon was never assigned an attorney for his case so he filed a petition with the United States Supreme Court. Gideon does this while he is incarcerated in the Florida state prison. Supreme Court clerk Michael Rodak, is the man to receive the petition request from Gideon. After filing a petition, Gideon passed the first step of being heard by the Supreme Court. In the book, Anthony Lewis describes has precise the process of the Supreme Court is. A petitioner must submit a request and in return, the opposing side has 30 days to respond to a request. For Gideon, his case had no reply so it was forwarded to the Justices. Next in the story, the reply is received and a document is formed and stated that Gideon did not have the right to counsel. A general rule in the Supreme Court is that the Justices decision follows their ideas of what is most important in the judicial system.

One of the most important concepts that was portrayed in the book is “determination of Federalism”, which is states’ rights versus those of the federal government. In this book we learn that if Gideon’s “appeal” were approved, all of the states’ courts would be impacted.

Later in the book, Walter Schaefer, a state judge of the Supreme Court of Illinois, stated that a right to an attorney is greater than all other rights. Following this, the...
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