FOCUS: 50th Anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright
On March 18, 1963, United States Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black delivered the opinion in Clarence E. Gideon v. Louie L. Wainwright, Corrections Director. The Court held that "The Sixth Amendment right to counsel is a fundamental right applied to the states via the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution's due process clause, and requires that indigent criminal defendants be provided counsel at trial."
After the opinion, Clarence Gideon was retried and subsequently acquitted. He died ten years after he sent his famous letter to the Supreme Court. His headstone states "I believe that each era finds an improvement in law for the benefit of mankind."
A sampling of the past week's news stories, editorials and opinion pages shows that much work is still needed to ensure that the right to counsel is fully realized. Last year legislation that would have improved indigent defense throughout Michigan passed the Michigan House, but was did not pass the Senate before the end of session. Work on new legislation has begun this session, and although legislation has not been introduced yet, the State Bar is working with legislators and other stakeholders to get new legislation introduced and passed that will help Michigan fulfill the promise of Gideon v. Wainwright.
50 Years After Landmark Ruling, Lawyer's Help is Legal Fiction for Many Accused of Crime
(Washington Post, 3/17/13)
Gideon v. Wainwright Anniversary Highlights Lingering Problems
(Huffington Post, 3/17/13)
Gideon v. Wainwright—Case Providing Defendants An Attorney—Turns 50
(CBS News, 3/16/13)
Right to a Lawyer Can Be Empty Promise for Poor
(New York Times, 3/15/13)
50 Years After Key Case, Problems Defending The Poor Persist
Kilpatrick's Peers Deserve Good Lawyers, Too
(Detroit Free Press, 3/17/13)
In the Capitol
Committee Meetings of Interest for the Week of 3/18
3/19 Senate Judiciary
Agenda: SB 250 Increase penalties for assaulting certain health care professional;
HB 4123 Provide protection from liability for personal injury or property damage caused by propane gas equipment or appliances; And any other business properly before the committee.
3/19 House Appropriations: Corrections
Agenda: Report House Substitute for: HB 4215 Department of corrections budget for fiscal year 2013-2014.
3/19 Senate Appropriations: Corrections
Agenda: FY 2013-14 Corrections Budget Senate Subcommittee Recommendation;
SB 197 Department of corrections for fiscal year 2013-2014.
3/20 House Criminal Justice
Agenda: Presentations on Human Trafficking Initiative—Attorney General Bill Schuette; Additional testimony as needed.
3/20 House Appropriations: Judiciary
Report House Substitute for: HB 4222 Judiciary budget for fiscal year 2013-2014.
3/21 House Judiciary
Agenda: HB 4139 Repeal provision relating to proceedings to prevent crime;
HB 4382 Authorize guardians to execute do-not-resuscitate orders and provide other general amendments;
HB 4383 Revise citation to do-not-resuscitate orders;
HB 4384 Clarify guardians authority to consent to a do-not-resuscitate order, and provide procedure.
3/21 Senate Appropriations: Judiciary
Agenda: Report out FY 2013-14 Judiciary Budget; SB 191 Judiciary Budget for fiscal year 2013-2014.
Complete Committee Meeting List
New Public Acts
At the Bar
State Bar McCree Award Winners to be Honored
New Agricultural Law Section Starts Strong
State Bar Seeks Law Firm Applications for Pro Bono Circle of Excellence by March 29
Wrongfully Convicted and Seeking Restitution
(New York Times, 3/13/13)