For those of you who are casual or non-esq readers of the blog, or for those of you who wear a black robe to work, the landmark case of Gideon v. Wainwright established the foundation for ensuring that every criminal defendant facing incarceration is provided competent counsel for his or her defense. In other words, Gideon breathed life into the 6th Amendment.
Justice Hugo L. Black, wrote the opinion for the Court in Gideon. Black wrote in another case that ''there can be no equal justice where the kind of trial a man gets depends on the amount of money he has.''
The situation in Florida's misdemeanor courts are even worse. According to the recent NY Times article on Gideon last week:
In 21 counties in Florida in 2010, 70 percent of misdemeanor defendants pleaded guilty or no contest — at arraignments that averaged less than three minutes.