Gideon v. Wainwright

U.S. Case Law

Legal Definition of Gideon v. Wainwright 

372 U.S. 335 (1963), held that the Sixth Amendment guarantees a defendant's right to counsel and that an indigent defendant must be provided with a court-appointed lawyer in all felony cases. The case is important for overruling an earlier decision Betts v. Brady, 316 U.S. 455 (1942), that prevented the extension of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to state as well as federal criminal proceedings. Gideon was frequently cited in later cases, as the Court continued to expand due process guarantees and other fundamental rights in trial procedures.

Learn More about Gideon v. Wainwright

Share Gideon v. Wainwright

Comments on Gideon v. Wainwright

What made you want to look up Gideon v. Wainwright? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

having a pattern of small flowers

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!