Rights of the Accused

Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)

Case background and primary source documents concerning the Supreme Court case of Gideon v. Wainwright. Dealing with whether or not a state must provide a lawyer to the accused, this lesson asks students whether or not they believe the Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to counsel in all cases and whether the government must provide a lawyer to defendants who want one but cannot afford one.

Founding Principles

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Due Process

The government must interact with all citizens according to the duly-enacted laws; applying these rules equally among all citizens.

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Equal Protection

The principle of equal justice under law means that every individual is equal to every other person in regards to natural rights and treatment before the law. There are no individuals or groups who are born with the right to rule over others.

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Equality

Every individual is equal to every other person in regards to natural rights and treatment before the law.

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Rule of Law

Government and citizens all abide by the same laws regardless of political power. Those laws respect individual rights, are transparently enacted, are justly applied, and are stable.

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