Resolution J836-2013

Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the United States Supreme Court's decision Gideon v. Wainwright

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  • Mar 14, 2013: ADOPTED
  • Mar 14, 2013: REPORTED TO CALENDAR FOR CONSIDERATION
  • Mar 12, 2013: REFERRED TO FINANCE

Text

LEGISLATIVE  RESOLUTION commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the United
States Supreme Court's decision Gideon v. Wainwright  holding  the  14th
amendment  to  the  Constitution  requires  states to provide counsel to
indigent criminal defendants

WHEREAS, March 18, 2013, marks the 50th Anniversary of the U.S.  Supreme
Court's  landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963);
and
  WHEREAS, On January 8, 1962, the  Clerk  of  the  U.S.  Supreme  Court
received  a  handwritten  petition  from  prisoner number 003826 seeking
certiorari to the Supreme Court based on the claim that the prisoner had
been denied his constitutional right to counsel; and
  WHEREAS, That petition began the historic case of Gideon v. Wainwright
in which the Court overturned  Clarence  Earl  Gideon's  conviction  and
unanimously  held  that  the 14th amendment to the Constitution requires
states to provide counsel to defendants in criminal cases  if  they  are
unable to afford an attorney; and
  WHEREAS,  On  March  18,  1963,  in  its  unanimous opinion written by
Justice Hugo Black, the court held "...any person haled into court,  who
is  too  poor  to  hire  a lawyer, cannot be assured a fair trial unless
counsel is provided for him...lawyers in criminal  courts  are  necessi-
ties, not luxuries."; and
  WHEREAS,  Following  this  historic decision, a new trial was ordered,
and with a new lawyer appointed, Gideon was acquitted; and
  WHEREAS, This decision established that the right to competent counsel
in a criminal proceeding is a constitutional right  belonging  to  every
American; and
  WHEREAS,  This  decision  established  a  50 year tradition of zealous
representation of indigent criminal defendants  led  by  the  legal  aid
societies,  public defenders, and pro bono defense counsels of New York;
now, therefore, be it
  RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause  in  its  deliberations  to
celebrate  the  landmark  case  of Gideon v. Wainwright, and its holding
that advances our fundamental right to due  process  and  equal  justice
under the law for all New Yorkers.

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