When the Supreme Court received an envelope from prisoner Clarence Earl Gideon, they could not have known that the contents of the envelope would change history. The “writ of certiorari”, which asked a higher court to review the appeals of a lower court , jump-started a Supreme Court case that would alter the way the Fourteenth Amendment was interpreted. This case affects you everyday because you can go through your life knowing that, in regards to being tried in court, you will be treated equally with all other citizens. This can give you a sense of comfort and security about the justice system in the country in which you live, the United States of America.
You are Guaranteed “Life, Liberty, Property, and Due Process of Law”
What would you do if one day you were arrested for burglarizing a house? As an American citizen, the “Due Process Clause,” the fourth and final clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, would greatly influence how you would be tried for this case. This clause states that no citizen will be denied “life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” In other words, this clause ensures that States follow the same proceedings for trials and value all legal rights of each individual citizen. This clause protects your rights everyday by ensuring that these three rights (life, liberty, and property) cannot be taken away from you without a fair hearing. You would not have these rights, such as the right to liberty taken away without a fair hearing under due process of law and with an impartial judge and jury.
You Are “Treated Equally to All Citizens”
What would you do if you were arrested for assault and did not have the money to hire a lawyer? If you were not given a lawyer because of how much money you have, you would be treated unfairly compared to other, more wealthy citizens. During Gideon’s trial in Florida, he asked the lower court for “the aid to counsel,” which the court denied him. By not providing him with an aid to counsel, the Florida state court robbed him of his due process under the law. In the conclusion of this case, the right to counsel became a fundamental right of any citizen.
You Are Guaranteed an Aid to Counsel
Now, if you are ever put in a situation in which you are arrested and tried, you will be able to have a lawyer, whether or not you can afford one yourself. The writ of certiorari from Clarence Earl Gideon was instrumental in assuring that all citizens are tried equally and fairly under the law.