Gedion Case Summary

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Pages: 2


Gedion had been charged in the Florida State Court with a felony of non capital nature. With no funds to hire a lawyer, he requested the court to appoint an attorney. However, the court denied on the basis that only capital offenders warrant that privilege. Gedion defended himself and lost after being sentenced to five years in prison. He appealed to the State Supreme Court where the court ruled tin his favor on the basis that conviction without the help of an attorney violated the 14th amendment. The ruling, which was made by the Florida Supreme Court, effectively overruled the ruling of the Florida State Court.

Primary legal issue

Does an indigent defendant in a non-capital felony have the right to appointment of counsel?

Holding: Yes, indigent defendants have the fundamental right to assistance of counsel for a fair trial.

Reasoning/ Analysis
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Brady, 316 U.S 455 where the circumstances in both cases were deemed to be similar. Gedion, Just like Betts had been arraigned in court but could not afford a lawyer. The judges denied both the right to appoint counsel leading to the defendants defending themselves in court. Both defendants, in their petitions argued that denial of assistance of attorney violated the 14th Amendment. In his ruling, Justice Black argues that the asserted denial of assistance to counsel can be tested by appraising the totality of the facts of the case and that in some scenarios, such denial violates the fundamental sense of justice. The judges chose to overrule Betts v. Brady