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tv   Gideons Trumpet CBS Documentary  CSPAN  March 26, 2018 11:20pm-12:11am EDT

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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] policy every day with issues that impact you. tuesday morning, washington post technology reporter tony rahm and politico technology reporter discuss data privacy in the analytical cambridge fallout. and an international response. be sure to watch c-span's washington journal live at seven eastern tuesday morning. join the discussion. up, this week's landmark cases looking at the 1963 case of gideon v wainwright. in 19 64, cbs reports looked at the landmark supreme court case which guarantees the right to counsel for criminal defendants. it included interviews with clarence gideon, his attorney,
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and future supreme court justice . sitting justice arthur goldberg and many others. >> few americans know this man and yet he is an american legal landmark. he is not a celebrity nor member of the affluent society. he is -- has spent a good part of his life in jail. he is a four-time loser. you might say a born loser. ago he took onle the county courts and the lawyers and the ordinance and the jails. he took on the state courts in the supreme court and the state governments and the federal government and the u.s. constitution. and he hit it big. his name is clarence earl gideon. he argued there can be no equal justice where the kind of trial amend gets depends on the mount -- the amount of money he has. he argued there should not be what kind of justice for the rich, another for the poor.
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note on his trumpet, he blew it over and over. a man cannot get a fair trial without a lawyer. as he was not -- he would not retreat one which am this addition, this man has brought a profound change in the course of american jurisprudence. ♪ cbs reports, gideon's trumpet, the poor man and the law, based upon the book i anthony lewis. it is brought to by the shell oil company who also brings you super shell gasoline or good mileage and fleischmann's margarine, so delicious tasting because it is made from 100% corn oil. reports, gideon's trumpet, the poor man and the law. here now is cbs news course pond it might look run ski. the supreme court
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of the united states. the supreme court has been a meeting ground for the confrontation of giants and giant issues but it is not only the giants who bring their cases to this court. here in the marshal's office where the mail is sorted for the nine justices and the clerks of the court, they arrived in the morning of january 8, 1962. a large envelope. it came from clarence earl 003826, prisoner number state prison, florida. letter askedon'd to proceed as a poppers and he was behind bars and without funds. gideon who had no legal training had asked the supreme court to review his trial and his sentence on the grounds -- counsel made to stand
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-- trial without the aid of counsel. >> it was addressed to the warrant, chief justice. >> comes now the petitioner, clarence earl gideon, a citizen of that united states of america. at the time of the trial he asked the lower court for aid and counsel and the court counsel -- trial without the aid this a. the >> pencil butters were stamped 890 miscellaneous. the a hundred 90th case to go on the miscellaneous docket that had begun in october 1961. gideon's papers were placed in a large red folder and dispatched by a dumbwaiter to the file room. separate filen a card. this would be the docket. the history at a glance to everything that happened from that case and then on. on june 4, 19 62, the supreme court sent to mr. clarence earl gideon of copy of the order of the day, announcing he could --ceed in former poppers and
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court had decided to take up the case. panamae began here in city, florida. it is a county seat with motels and lodges, good fishing, some of the finest beaches in america. the man who was to lead such a lasting imprint on the lower left little imprint on this town. panama city was gideon's home and this was the scene of his alleged crime. the bay harbor pool room, on a rundown street on the edge of town. reported stolen, some wine, some soda, some beer. the exact amount unlisted. also some coins from the juke rocks and the cigarette machine. no one seemed sure how much. maybe five dollars, maybe $60. directly across the street, across the town line in springfield, the bay harbor hotel. one of the residents, clarence
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earl gideon, 51, smalltime gambler and drifter with a record of your glory and larceny come off for felony convictions, 17 years in jail through 1952, but law-abiding since then. the bay harbor pool room had been broken into by a side of june 2,r midnight 1961. a bypass or at 5:30 a.m. claimed he saw gideon, and if the bay harbor pool room with his pockets bulging. clarence gideon who talked freely of the robberies he had committed in the past insisted this was one crime he never committed. did you tell the police you thought you were innocent? mr. gideon: i imagine i did. i do not directly remember telling them anything. i was -- it was on saturday when i was arrested. facially oned
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monday morning. trial the next day on tuesday. that is the first time i found evidence.tual direct >> what happened that night? mr. gideon: as far as i know, i did not know what had happened until the next day. i was in and out of the pool room and the board next door and i had been jerking pretty heavy and i come back and -- i had been drinking pretty heavy and i come back. -- i will go up early in the morning -- woke up early in the morning and come out of habit of goingd a keller --is lot and calling a cab. i did not know this place had
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been robbed until i was arrested for it. >> what did they say when you were charged? esther gideon: he don't say nothing. just listing with the state has against you. pleading not guilty. he committed no crime. his bail was set at $1500. he had no money. so he was kept in the county jail for two months waiting trial. ,e had no money for a lawyer either and this set the stage for a great turning point in american jurisprudence. television cameras are not allowed in florida courts. but because of the historic significance of the opening colloquy, the judge has consented to a reenactment by the actual intervals using the exact words of the transcript. >> the next case is the case of state of florida versus clarence earl gideon. are you ready for trial? >> the state is ready. >> are you ready for trial?
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mr. gideon: i am not ready. >> do you lead guilty by reason of insanity? mr. gideon: no. i have no counsel. >> did you know the case was set for trial? gideon: i know the case was set for trial. >> why do you do not prepare? mr. gideon: i request the court to appoint counsel to represent me in this trial. >> i am sorry but i cannot youint counsel to present in this case. under the laws of the state of florida, the only time the court is when thecounsel person is charged with a capital offense. >> a capital offense is a crime for which the death penalty can be imposed. >> i am sorry but i will have to deny your request to a point counsel to defend you in this case. >> at this juncture clarence gideon made as simple but historic claim. >> the u.s. supreme court's title -- it says i am in
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to be represented by counsel. >> let the record show the defendant asked the court to appoint counsel to represent him in this trial. the court has denied this request and informed the defendant the only time the court appoints counsel to represent a defendant was in cases where the defendant was charged with a capital offense. >> this is where you set foirt the belief that a poor -- set forth the belief that a poor man is entitled to a lawyer. where did you get that belief? mr. gideon: i always believed that. i thought that was a law. i thought that was a constitutional right. i didn't know no different. >> you had read the constitution? mr. gideon: yes. i read the constitution, even when i was a boy going to school. >> did you feel there was something in the constitution that entitled you to a lawyer? mr. gideon: i way i interpreted the constitution -- the way i interpreted the constitution, i
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had no doubt in my mind there was. >> what part of the constitution did you interpreter? mr. gideon: to me, the bill of rights is where i interpreted it. then in the 14th amendment. first paragraph. very simple language. anybody can understand it. even the school child could. >> what part of the 14th amendment? mr. gideon: especially the part where it says no state shall bridge the rights any of citizen to the due process of law and the equal protection of law. >> you figured your rights were being abridged? mr. gideon: any lehman would be -- his rights would be abridged. it would take a man that is educated in legal manners and able to talk and able to speak in front of a jury. a man with money can hire a lawyer to represent him.
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he'd get a better chance in a trial than i would get without an attorney. to me that was just common sense. there was no argument to it. a belief -- it wasn't a belief to me. it was just significant know is right. >> gideon had no lawyer throughout the trial. judge mccrery explained why. >> at the time mr. gideon asked for the appointment of counsel. the florida law did not provide for the appointment of counsel except in capital cases. we were following what we thought was the law laid down by the supreme court of the united tates. who said that a defendant was not entitled to counsel as a matter of right. we thought that was the law at the time and we tried to follow that. >> then you were faced with having to defend yourself. what did you do then? >> i sat down at the desk and started defending my set of best
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i could. mr. gideon: i made a plea to the jury, an opening argument to the jirks which doesn't amount to -- to the jury, which doesn't amount to much. you come into the courtroom and you're scared about half to death anyway. if i'd had the ability to cross examine witnesses, i might bring out the true facts what have happened in the place. which i wasn't able to do. o me, i'm a simple man, simple language. >> the state prosecutor in gideon's trial, it william e. harris. >> the state's case was the testimony of henry cook. who testified as an eyewitness to the breaking and entering that mr. gideon was charged with. mr. cook testified that he saw mr. gideon in the bay harbor pool room, saw the corn boxes on the pool table and saw him come out of the back door of the pool hall, saw him go to a telephone booth and call a cab.
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that was in effect the -- all of the state's case. with that testimony of mr. cook's and in the first trial mr. gideon did not take the stand, if the jury believed mr. cook, and it had no reason not to believe him in that first case, it had to convict mr. gideon under the evidence in accordance with the law. >> on august 4, 1961, a six-man jury found clarence gideon guilty in that he did unlawfully and -- unlawfully break and enter the building of another, to wit, the bay harbor pool room, with intent to commit a misdemeanor within said building, petty larceny. the judge deliberated three weeks on clarence gideon's past record of felony convictions, then gave him the maximum sentence. five years. >> my -- mr. gideon: my mind was already made up to what i was going to do. i knew i was going to have to fight the case in the united states supreme court at that ime.
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i definitely made it an issue right there and then in this court. i asked the judge to appoint me counsel. >> gideon was sentenced to the florida state prison at rayford. as something of an expert, gideon found the florida prison system among the best in the south. he improved his ability as an electrician in the electric shop. and was given special privileges . the assistant superintendent remembers gideon well. >> gideon was quiet, well behaved. looked upon by other prisoners as one of the better attorneys. >> is that what they'd call a guard house lawyer or a jail house lawyer? >> that is correct, sir. >> any prisoner in any jail in any state of the union has the right to petition any proper court to set him free. or at least hear his case. mr. gideon: i know enough about law to know a judge has to recognize the petition, without
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regards to how it's written or what it's written on. i had to go to the captain's office in the prison. he had to write it in front of him. and they take all your reference away from you. you come out -- you cannot take prepared petition in there. you had to write it strictly out of your mind. >> clarence gideon had one overriding interest in florida state prison and that was to get out. a month after he was set insurgentled in cell number d-9, he sent off a petition to the supreme court of florida, asking for a writ of habeas corpus. mr. gideon: i inform this court that i am a pauper without funds or any possibility of afeigning -- of attaining financial aid. i beg this court to listen and act upon my plea. >> gideon was asking florida's supreme court to let him out. on the general ground that he had been convicted
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unconstitutionally, on the specific ground that he had not been given a lawyer at the time of his trial. the supreme court of florida, as any court must, examined the petition of a man behind bars. hen it ruled, petition denied. clarence gideon would have to take his fight for freedom elsewhere. he took it to the supreme court of the united states. and thus began the train of events that led to the decision by the court on june 4, 1962, to hear gideon's case. supreme court justice arthur j. goldburg recalls the impact of the gideon letter. >> mr. justice, what happened when the court received the gideon letter? >> when a letter is written to us from a prisoner in a penitentiary, state or federal, and he claims, as mr. gideon did, a violation of a fundamental constitutional right, we regard that letter to be an appeal. it may not be called an appeal
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by the prisoner. but we deem it to be an appeal. that letter is circulated as gideon's letter was circulated to all of the justices. we do not do anything in our court by divisions. everything that is done is by the whole court. mr. gideon's letter raised a fundamental problem. a fundamental problem that the court had been dealing with for many years. not to its entire satisfaction. and that is, is a man in an american court, accused of any crime, capital or otherwise, entitled to the protection afforded by the sixth amendment to the constitution, which says that he shall have the right of counsel? the 14th amendment, which applies to the states, mean that the sixth amendment's protection is also extended to one charged by a state of crime? the court had held previously, some 20 some years before then,
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that this protection extended to those accused of capital crimes. and those defendants in exceptional circumstances. >> that was another case. >> but the experience throughout those years demonstrated that this was not satisfactory. that a man charged with a crime not of those dimensions, nevertheless, was not in a very good position to represent himself when could he not afford a lawyer. and so when mr. gideon's letter was received, it was put on a conference list. the list that we consider on fridays when we go into conference. it was one of the first cases that i had an opportunity to consider after my appointment to the court. and when it came around, we talked about it at length. as much length as we would about any case of importance. and we decided that perhaps we ought to consider again what the
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constitutional requirement of right of counsel really meant in a country that believed in equality. >> did this mean the court was ready to change its mind? >> no, not at that time. the court didn't know what its mind was. we do not make up our mind in anticipation of a presentation to the court. but the court did recognize at that preliminary conference the force of mr. gideon's simple appeal and it was a very simple one. it said that, i represented myself but i am not a lawyer. mr. gideon: the supreme court right.a writ of cert i was told i didn't several times. i'm not no student of latin and i have a hard time pronouncing names. i looked that up in the
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dictionary and it means search of records. i understood it at times. >> gideon's trumpet will continue immediately after this message. here again is it. >> the supreme court of the united states was now keeping a steady eye on inmate number 003826 at rayford. i assume that you desire the court to appoint a competent attorney to represent new this court. replied inmate number 003826, i do desire the court to appoint an attorney to represent me in this court. mr. gideon: because i do not know the procedure nor do i have . e ability to do so on the last day that term of court, which i think was the th of june, 1962, they appointed me an attorney, mr. abe fortas.
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of washington, d.c. >> you had ever heard of him? mr. gideon:, no i never heard of him. ut a few people in there had heard of him. >> the supreme court had chosen one of washington's most prominent lawyers. fortas had been undersecretary of the interior under franklin d. roosevelt. he was a close advisor to lyndon b. johnson. the supreme court, in naming fortas to argue gideon's cause, as usual gave no reason for its choice of counsel. fortas, like all lawyers, send the horn without question -- accepted the honor without question. he would serve without fee. he had never heard of clarence gideon and would never meet his client except through letters. but abe fortas knew that clarence gideon did not have the law on his side at that time. >> the sixth amendment to our constitution says that every man is entitled to counsel. that amendment, however, has
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been held by the supreme court to apply only to the federal government. with respect to the states, at of time of gideon, about 37 the states had similar provisions. but in 13 states, that was not so. i felt that the time had arrived when the court, with a proper se before it, would lay down the general rule applicable to all felony cases in the state courts. that every man, the rich, the poor and the poor as well as the rich, was entitled to the benefit of counsel when he was defending himself against prosecution by the mighty forces of the state. >> on january 15, 1963, the
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supreme court of the united states heard the argument in gideon vs. wainwright. gideon, a prisoner, was technically asking his freedom from wainwright, who is head of florida's division of corrections or prison system. but abe fortas for gideon and bruce jacob for florida were really arguing whether the right to counsel was a fundamental american right. the men they argued about was not there -- man they argued about was not thrsm he was in a prison -- not there. he was in a prison cell. bruce joy could be spoke for florida. >> we argue -- jacob spoke for florida. >> we argued the reasoning that was used in the decision of betts vs. brady by the supreme court back in 1941 or 1942. first of all, we argued that hiser to he canly the sixth amendment, -- historically the sixth amendment when it was first adopted, was intended to give individuals the right to attain or hire their own
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attorney you but it was not intended to -- attorneys but it was not intended to give individuals lawyers apointered to them. >> what it really amounted to was more interference by the federal courts in state proceedings and not less. because it meant that the supreme court had to examine each trial that was presented to it to see whether the judge, the state judge, mind you, had conducted himself properly. the prosecuting attorney had conducted himself properly. and so on. and the result was not tody minutish the area -- to diminish the area of state and federal conflict, but to increase it. >> there were actually about five -- well over 5,000 prisoners who had been convicted without the aid of counsel. and we pointed out to the court that if they overruled betts vs.
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brady and did not -- and made the -- the new decision retroactive, then florida was in danger or the entire country was in danger of having a lot of hardened criminals turned loose on society. >> that is a price that is a uently demanded by constitutional decision that is long delayed. >> if we should decide that every man is automatically entitled to counsel in every single case, not only will we have to give or provide free counsel to every individual in a felony case, a capital or a noncapital felony case, we will also have to provide counsel in all misdemeanor cases and we will also have to provide counsel for all persons who are involved in civil litigation. >> in the past generation, we as a people have been moving
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forward towards a better, a greater and a nobler conception of the dignity of man. a more comprehensive conception of the rights of man. and i think gideon is part of that movement. >> on the 18th of march, 196 3rks the supreme court of the united states unanimously changed its mind about betts vs. brady. 21 years before, just as hugo black had been in the minority in betts, but now in the case of clarence gideon, could he speak for the majority. the court was wrong in betts, said justice black. any person hailed into court who is too poor to hire a lawyer cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel is provided for them -- him. the conviction of clarence gideon is reversed. the rule now applied to all 50 states. and the man bho did it remembers the day -- who did it remembers
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the day. >> i felt great. mr. gideon: i felt great. i was listening for the decision on the radio. when it came on. most of the prison population heard it. you could hear them holler for an 10 miles i suppose from there. , lso received telegrams congratulating me on the decision. >> mr. fortas, gideon got your services for free. what would they have cost a client who could afford to pay? >> that's a very difficult question to answer. i can tell you that we didn't spare the horses in terms of hours, in terms of the expenses that we incurred. certainly the cost of this to us, and the fee and expenses that any client would have had
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to pay would have amounted to a great many thousands of dollars. >> when the supreme court reversed his conviction, clarence gideon thought he was entitled to go free. he was wrong. he was entitled to a new trial, if the state wanted to prosecute him again. the state chose to prosecute. after two more months in florida state prison, gideon was returned to panama city to await trial. he still couldn't raise bail. so he was kept in county jail another month before trial was held. >> i wanted -- mr. gideon: i wanted a retrial but i wanted to properly represented by competent counsel. the judge asked me, who would i like for attorney? i told him, i only know one man in this county and that was mr. fred turner. >> gideon had finally found his trial lawyer. a local man. w. fred turner.
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like fortas, fred turner would serve without fee. >> i knew clarence before he ever got in trouble. but i didn't know that i was going to be in the case until judge mccrary found me in the hall and said he'd appointed me. i knew that the first case that the state had an eyewitness and that's pretty tough for a defense counsel to walk into a case in which there's an eyewitness to the alleged crime. so my work was cut out for me from the word go. it wasn't an easy case at all. it was apparent to me that if i was going to go anywhere, i had to find out some reason why mr. cook was saying what he was saying. that he actually saw gideon inside the building. i considered the possibility that he could be perhaps not telling the truth. or if he was telling the truth,
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then it didn't jibe with what mr. gideon was telling me. so i had to go elsewhere to find an answer, if one could be found. so, with mr. gideon safely in jail, the burden was upon me to get out and interview these people and find out what they knew. and during these trips, i made two trips out of town, several trips to the vicinity of the bar. i came upon this grocer over there who was near the telephone booth where gideon made the phone call to get the cab. and i'd known the grocer for some time. i knew mr. henderson. i asked him what he knew about the case. he said not much. he'd talked with mr. cook about it. and mr. cook told him that he, cook, was the chief suspect. but that he thought gideon had done it. well, of course this was -- came to me as a rather shocking piece
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of news, to say the least. there was another piece of evidence that i thought would help. in the case. and that was this. there was merchandise missing from the pool room and it was a apparent that gideon did not have the merchandise. there was four bottles of wine, some 24 cans of beer and some 12 coke colas. well, no state's witness in the first trial or any of those that i interviewed ever said that gideon had any such merchandise like that on his person. and all said that he was walking. he was afoot. he wasn't riding in an automobile. until he called the cab, of course. so, this combination, these two things, of cook not being sure, not being positive, and the question of where did the merchandise go, i thought would
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keep any fair-minded jury from saying beyond a reasonable doubt that gideon was guilty. and that was the first time that i thought we had a chance for acquittal. mr. gideon: we go to trial. exactly two years and one day rom the first trial. same witnesses, same courtroom, same judge. same kind of a jury. through mr. turner's efforts. the evidence is so simple it would have been impossible for me to commit the crime. >> on august 5, 1963, a new six-man jury found clarence gideon not guilty. >> i think it -- him winning hat acquittal was the most important thing in this whole
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case. it showed the difference definitely between not having an torney and being with an attorney. >> the law has no respect of persons. clarence has put it another way. a poor man can get justice in the supreme court of the united states. that's literally true. clarence was fighting for principle. if he had been a very wealthy person, i think that the principle would have still been the same. >> gideon's trumpet will continue immediately after this message. here again is martin. >> gideon's decision affected more than 5,000 other prison inmates in florida. the state supreme court quickly ordered that anyone who had been convicted without a lawyer could apply for a new trial in the court where he had been sentenced. the state legislature under the urging of governor bryant quickly passed a public defender
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law to provide lawyers for poor defendants. within a year of the gideon decision, the prison population in florida went down sharply. louie wainwright, director of the florida prison system, the other half of gideon vs. wainwright, tells cbs reports what happened. >> we have had a total of about 5,300 motions, petitions for relief filed as a result of this decision. of course we have had over 1,000 that have been totally released as a result of it. >> many people were afraid that all these, over 1,000 men have been released, they'll go out and commit crimes again. >> yes, that's been a concern of those in law enforcement and the officials of our state. however, we have not found that that has been the case. because out of the over 1,000 that have been released, we've only had about 4% that have returned with a new conviction so far as we know.
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>> how does that compare to the national average? >> actually the national average is about 65%. 65% of our population are repeaters. and about 20% of those released on parole fail to make it in return -- and return to prison. >> you're going to set aside a part of this prison and call it the clarence gideon memorial hall? >> no, sir, i don't believe that we'll go that far. but he'll be remembered here a long time, i'm sure. >> did you have any feelings about having made history in your case? you have ever felt like a historical figure? mr. gideon: no. it wasn't nothing brilliant. it was just, i was fortunate enough to have a case and come that the united states supreme court wanted to,
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the majority, in fact it was unanimous, they wanted to redo this decision and make it possible that everybody in the united states should have a legal counsel at a time of trial. and put an interpretation on the 14th amendment that is almost as important as the 14th amendment itself. and i believe through this case, everything in the bill of rights of the united states will be interpreted that way from now on. >> how do you explain that a thoughtful, studious man like yourself, who demonstrated the kind of independence and courage you demonstrated in fighting your case to the supreme court, was still unable to avoid repeatedly a life of crime? mr. gideon: i couldn't explain
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it. i actually don't know. naturally i'd like to go back and change my life. which nobody can do. i could go back, not run away from home when i was 13 years old, started -- start it all ver right there again. and probably could have been a lawyer today or a writer or anything. don't know what causes them things to happen. could change a lot of people's think w -- i don't
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nobody knows -- put a finger definitely on this and say that's what caused it or what it is. it's a matter of circumstances. you get into something, it gets to be a way of life. you can't get away from it. >> clarence in our country do you think the rich man and the poor man get equal treatment under the law? mr. gideon: no. the poor man couldn't get equal justice. i don't believe he ever will get equal justice. >> are you saying in this country it's a crime to be poor? >> it is a crime in this country o be poor. there's probably a young man, my age or older, no homes, no social security, they have nothing. they run from one town to
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another, from one salvation army to another, and they're arrested in all these towns and charged with vague ransy. -- vagra in, yy. the only crime they've committed is being poor. >> clarence gideon speaks for the poor man. associate justice arthur goldberg of the supreme court speaks for the law. mr. justice, do you find it curious, perhaps i should say, do you find it wonderful, that a can change the law? does he solve the problem? >> gideon's case is a great milestone. it causes -- solves a basic problem. today in all courts, federal and state when a man is accused of crime, he must be afforded a lawyer.
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if he can hire one, if he has the means, he hires his own lawyer. if he doesn't have the means, then a lawyer must be provided for him by the state or the federal government. but i cannot frankly say that it solves all of the problems. because when a man is called to the bar of a criminal court and accused of crime, he's presumed to be innocent, of course. under our system. and giving him a lawyer is only truly p in what equality conceived requires. martin: what are the other problems? >> i am restrained because i must make my decisions known as part of a court from case to case as they come up. and therefore with pro pryity i cannot indicate the constitutional dimensions what have is required but i can say this, that no lawyer or no judge
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nor any lehman need restrain himself from saying what our constitution morally requires. what the constitution does not command the constitution can inspire. martin: moral imperative is what you have in mind. >> moral imperative. and the moral imperative that i have in mind is a simple one. the extent of a man's wealth or lack of wealth, whether he's ich or poor, should be irrelevant when a man is called before the bar of justice. and just providing a lawyer will not answer, will not answer the problem. a lawyer, once he's hired, must have the tools of advocacy. he must have the means to investigate the underlying circumstances. he must have access to scientific laboratories in a day
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when science can shed so much light on whether a crime has been committed. he must have access to psychiatrists, if there are problems of responsibility for the crime. he must have access to expert opinion, hand writing experts, ballistic experts, and various other of the technical and scientific means available. but there are other problems. and they start with the very beginning of a criminal prosecution. now, many criminal cases can properly be started without an arrest warrant. they can be started by service of a summons. and this is being tried happen by in various of our jurisdictions. and where it has been tried, it has been successful. the average man without a criminal record, who for the first time has found himself charged with a violation of the law, is not going it -- to flee.
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he's very often a job holder. he's a man with a family. he has a settled place of residence. he can be called by an ordinary summons to respond to the charge against him. and this is a great improvement and prevents much hardship. the second, of course, is the question of bail. our constitution says that no one shall be denied the right to be bailed for proper offenses. but if bail is fixed by a financial means, the practical result is this, a rich man makes bail and he's free pending trial , enjoying the presumption of innocence. a poor man cannot make bail and therefore he is lodged at great expense to the state and at great expense to his family in jail while his trial is being
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awaited. and this can take considerable time. in light of our clogged court dockets. in many of our states. martin: so we need a rethinking and a reform of the bail system. >> and happily that is being done. we have a very fine project in new york sponsored by the vera foundation, the manhattan bail project. which has experimented with giving bail to properly screened indigent defendants. i think we need to rethink the whole question of penalties after a crime has been committed. one of the common penalties that a fine or today is in default of payment of a fine, imprisonment. now, if a rich man is fined $1,000 or in the alternative to go to jail for 30 days, it is obvious what is going to happen. he's going to pay his $1,000 and as a result he will not go to jail. but what is the choice of a poor
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man under those circumstances? if he is fined d 1,000 or in the alternative to go to jail for 30 days, he must go to jail. we must ask ourselves a question. is this equal justice? is this fair? is this the type of equality that we have as a great goal of our society? or is it actually imprisonment for being poor? martin: mr. justice, aren't we perhaps overeveryone sizing this concern about quality -- over emphasizing this concern about equality? >> no, we can never overemphasize equality. equality is, i profoundly believe, one of the basic instincts of man kind. it's an ancient feeling that the poor and the rich ought to be treated alike. we derive our conception of equality, i think, from two sources. we derive it from biblical sources. we find in the book of liviticus
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an admonition to the judges of that time, that they must neither favor the rich nor the poor, but must pursue the course of righteousness and justice. and then we find in our angelo american tradition, dating back to magna carta, the thing that the barons exacted from king john was that he would not deny justice to any man, to any man, and therefore it's an old, old tradition. when i took my oath of office two years ago, i took a constitutional oath to support the constitution of the united states. but i took another oath, a judicial oath, an old oath of judges, which is give to judges the world -- given to judges the world over and that is to do justice to the poor and to the rich alike. so that it's a pervasive concept that goes to the very central
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core of our judicial system. so mr. gideon stands free today, after a trial by his peers, because he enjoys the benefits of the constitutional guarantees of liberty and equality, the goals for which our revolution was fought, the goals for which our constitution was written, and the goals for which all americans must always stand firm. martin: one week ago clarence gideon visited the supreme court of the united states for the first time. he visited it as any tourist would unrecognized. none knew him as the central figure in the historic case that argued here. but a man like clarence gideon could make the supreme court change its mind, must stand as living testament to the vitality of american justice. but for the harsh fact presented by the american bar association
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are, that these states and 2,900 of the 3,100 counties still fail to provide adequate counsel for poor people in criminal cases. that the gideon case has illuminated these weaknesses must stand as a continuing challenge to the american bar, the bench, the states, the congress and the conscience of mericans everywhere. >> cbs reports "gideon's trumpet: the poor man and the law" has been brought to you by norelco. and the shell oil company who also brings you super shell gasoline for good mileage.
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[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] >> all persons having business before the honorable the supreme court of the united states give their attention. >> landmark


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