Clarence Earl Gideon
Clarence Earl Gideon (August 30, 1910 – January 18, 1972) was a poor drifter accused in a Florida state court of felony theft. His case resulted in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Gideon v. Wainwright, holding that a criminal defendant who cannot afford to hire a lawyer must be provided with a lawyer at no cost. At Gideon's first trial, he represented himself, and he was convicted. After the Supreme Court ruled that the state had to provide defense counsel for the indigent, Florida retried Gideon. At his second trial, which took place in August 1963 with a lawyer representing him and bringing out for the jury the weaknesses in the prosecution's case, Gideon was acquitted. Gideon was born in Hannibal, Missouri, on August 30, 1910, and his father (Charles Roscoe Gideon) died when he was three. His mother was Virginia Gregory Gideon. Gideon quit school after eighth grade and ran away from home, living as a homeless drifter. By the time he was sixteen, Gideon had begun compiling a petty crime profile. Gideon spent a year in a reformatory for burglary before finding work at a shoe factory. At age 18, he was arrested in Missouri and charged with robbery, burglary, and larceny.