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Right to Counsel: From Gideon V. Wainwright to Gideon's Trumpet

Right to Counsel: From Gideon V. Wainwright to Gideon's Trumpet

by Lisa A. Wroble
Find out how a poor man transformed the American legal system!


Find out how a poor man transformed the American legal system!

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Judy DaPolito
The story of Clarence Earl Gideon's fight to make the state of Florida provide him with free counsel in his 1961 trial for breaking and entering with the intent to commit a larceny led to the making of the movie, Gideon's Trumpet. The first chapter is a brief overview of the book. It describes Gideon's request to the trial judge and the judge's refusal on the grounds that the state appointed free counsel only for capital offenses. Also included are the further events that led to the Gideon v. Wainwright Supreme Court decision that ruled that felony defendants in all states had a right to counsel. The second chapter describes Gideon's earlier life, his inability to defend himself well during the trial, and the five-year prison sentence he received. The third chapter covers the research he did in prison that led him to successfully petition the Supreme Court to hear his case. The fourth chapter describes the arguments before the court and the unanimous decision in Gideon's favor. However, the decision only gave Gideon the right to counsel; it did not free him. The next chapter shows his final trial, represented by attorney W. Fred Turner, who brought the case to a verdict of not guilty. The sixth chapter describes the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie starring Henry Fonda as Gideon and points out the differences between the movie and the actual story. A final chapter explains the significance of the Supreme Court decision for the American judicial system. Seven pages of notes, three glossary pages, a page listing additional reading, another page of relevant websites, and an index follow the text. Photographs, mostly in black-and-white, illustrate the book, and frequent blue pagesand sidebars amplify the text. The book is part of the "Famous Court Cases That Became Movies" series. Reviewer: Judy DaPolito
School Library Journal

Gr 6-9

Books about notable court cases are nothing new, but the inclusion of movies inspired by them is an alluring twist. These authors explain complex issues in an easy-to-follow manner. They provide background to each trial and explain how it unfolded and why it remains significant. For example, Racism states that Medgar Evers's murder "[confronted] the public with the necessity for improvements in racial relationships." The movie aspect might be gimmicky, but it works. A popular cultural phenomenon is woven seamlessly into the texts to attract readers. Clear photographs in full color and black and white appear in 35mm film-like frames, adding visual appeal. Sources are well-documented, making this series a promising staple for reports.

Product Details

Enslow Publishers, Incorporated
Publication date:
Famous Court Cases That Became Movies Series
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
11 - 17 Years

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