Between midnight and 8:00 a.m. on June 3, 1961, at the Bay Harbor Pool Room in Panama City, Florida, someone broke open a door, smashed the cigarette machine and a record player, and stole some money from a register. Later that day, a witness reported that he had seen Clarence Earl Gideon in the pool room at around 5:30 that morning leaving with a wine bottle and money in his pockets. Based on this accusation police arrested the suspect and charged him with breaking and entering with intent to commit petty larceny.
In the court case that followed. the following exchange tool place.
The COURT: Mr. Gideon, I am sorry, but I cannot appoint Counsel to represent you in this case. Under the laws of the State of Florida, the only time the Court can appoint Counsel to represent a Defendant is when that person is charged with a capital offense. I am sorry, but I will have to deny your request to appoint Counsel to defend you in this case.
GIDEON: The United States Supreme Court says I am entitled to be represented by Counsel.(1)
1: 372 U.S 337
3: ibid. pp. 342
4: ibid. pp. 344
5: 287 U.S. at 287 U. S. 68-69. (quoted: 372 U. S. 345)
6: Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 U. S. 458, 304 U. S. 462 (1938)