Either way it's a win. When you and your client walk out of court with no return date, it's a win (unless you pled to CTS, then it's loss).
Judge Hirsch's Constitutional Calendar for Thanksgiving is a repeat, but one worth repeating. And while we are at it, let's give a shout out to Probate's newest Judge, and his latest novel, available here on Amazon . A Judge. Criminal Court. Civil Court. A Museum Theft. What more could a reader ask for?
Well, perhaps the answer to this question: What does the 6th Amendment right to counsel, the decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, some Coca Cola and Whiskey, and Henry Fonda all have to do with the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure? The answer is below.
It was August, 1963, and readers of the Panama City News or the Panama City Herald could scarcely help but feel a sense of civic pride. The front pages told of a local construction boom: A Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge on West U.S. 98, Gainer Funeral Home’s building on North Cove Boulevard, and the Florida State Employment Office’s new quarters on Ninth and Magnolia. In the advertising supplements the Cook Motor Company trumpeted the sporty new Ford Falcon for $1,795. And on the sports pages, big things were foretold for the Bay High School Tornadoes and junior halfback Joe Wayne Walker.
It was August, 1963, and Panama City, Florida, was small-town Dixie, an unlikely epicenter for a constitutional earthquake.
That same month, while the Tornadoes ran their two-a-day drills, Clarence Earl Gideon was tried for the second time – this time with the assistance of counsel – for the theft of 12 bottles of Coca-Cola, 12 cans of beer, four fifths of whiskey and about $65 in change from the cigarette machine and jukebox of the Bay Harbor Pool Hall. Neither the trial nor Gideon’s acquittal received any particular notice in the Panama City News or the Panama City Herald.
But in the highest echelons of Florida government, notice was taken. In light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Gideon v. Wainwright and Gideon’s ensuing acquittal on retrial it was expected that hundreds, perhaps thousands of Florida prisoners would be filing habeas corpus petitions claiming that their judgments and sentences were unconstitutional because uncounseled. The respondent in each such petition would be Louie Wainwright, the warden of the state penitentiary at Raiford. Jurisdiction would lie in the circuit court of what was then Bradford County, a rural spot in the middle of the state that in 1963 had but one circuit judge; one judge, and hundreds, perhaps thousands of petitions. Chaos would ensue.
Thus it was that as a result of Gideon v. Wainwright the State of Florida got what it had never had before: a rule of criminal procedure, aptly entitled Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure No. 1. The rule provided that habeas petitions were to be filed in the circuit court in which the convictions under attack had been had. The expected flood of petitions would be fairly and evenly distributed throughout the state. Chaos would be neatly averted.
Joe Wayne Walker and the 1963 Bay High Tornadoes never really got the chance to live up to expectations. The big game against the Rutherford High Rams was played on the evening of Friday, November 22, and ended in a scoreless tie. But President Kennedy had been assassinated earlier that day, and the football game didn’t seem so important.
The answer to the trivia question is mostly self explanatory based on Judge Hirsch's Constitutional Calendar, except for Henry Fonda, who played Clarence Gideon in the made for TV Drama about Gideon v. Wainwright.