Gideon v. Wainright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963) 

Gideon v. Wainright, was a case involving a criminal defendant who was convicted on very little evidence due if not entirely because of the fact that he could not afford an attorney to represent him. Although at the time he was tried, there was some Supreme Court precedent regarding the appointment of counsel for indigent defendants in state cases, the right usually only applied when the charge involved capital punishment, which Gideon's did not. Thus, he appealed his sentence using the prison library, a pencil, and some prison stationery. Florida ended up appointing an attorney to represent him that would soon become a U.S. Supreme Court Justice himself, Abe Fortas.

The Supreme Court held that the right to assistance of counsel is a fundamental right, and is essential to ensuring a fair trial. Gideon's original trial thus violated his Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Rights. It is in this sense, the due process protections, that the Amendment is said to incorporate, or invoke the protections of, the Sixth Amendment, which creates the right to counsel in all federal criminal trials.

Due to the decision, Mr. Gideon's case was remanded, and he was retried with a new attorney, and then acquitted.

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