Celebrating the Gideon Decision

The Mingo County Commission signs a proclamation honoring the 60th anniversary of the United States Supreme Court decision in the case of Clarence Gideon, who only had an eighth-grade education. His conviction without having an attorney was ruled unconstitutional. The court’s historic March 1963 ruling declared anyone charged with a charge should have legal representation regardless of income, education, race or any other factors. This decision was the genesis of today’s national network of public defenders and court-appointed defense attorneys. However, the state of West Virginia recognized that value a century before in 1863. The commission proclamation states: “Mingo County values the right to a fair trial and access to legal representation as fundamental principles of our democracy. Public defenders play a critical role in ensuring that all individuals, regardless of their financial means, have access to quality legal representation.We applaud their tireless efforts to defend the rights of their clients and uphold the principles of justice for us all.”