Constitutional Places and Faces: Gideon v. Wainwright at 50 years

March 18th, 2013

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Gideon v. Wainright, here are a number of photographs I have collected about the case.

Here is Clarence Earl Gideon, during happier times, shooting pool at the Bay Harbor Pool Room in Panama City, Florida. Gideon would later be charged with stealing money from the pool hall.


Here is a picture of the now-burned down location of the Bay Harbor Pool Room.



Here is a copy of the Information charging Gideon with breaking and entering with intent to commit a misdemeanor.



From the Florida Department of Corrections, this is Gideon’s file.


Courtesy of the Florida Department of Corrections, here are several photos of Gideon, shortly after his arrest.

Gideon mug shot

Here he is wearing hipster glasses (he was wearing them non-ironically):

Gideon mug shots2

Here is the classic picture everyone knows of Gideon. He aged, and got new glasses.


This is the petition Gideon sent to the Supreme Court.

Gideon Petition

The Bay County Courthouse in Panama City, Florida was the site of Gideon’s initial trial, where the Judge refused to give Gideon an attorney.

Today a historical marker stands on that site.


It reads:

This is the site of the landmark Gideon case, after which the Public Defender system was established in Florida and throughout the nation. In 1961, Clarence Earl Gideon (1910-1972) stood trial in this courthouse for the felony of burglary. Lacking funds to hire a lawyer, Gideon requested that a lawyer be appointed to represent him at trial. Gideon’s request was denied, because at that time, a person accused of a non-capital felony did not have a constitutional right to a free lawyer. Gideon represented himself at this trial and was convicted. While serving his five-year prison sentence, Gideon petitioned the United States Supreme Court to review his case. The Supreme Court issued its decision in 1963 in Gideon v. Wainwright, ruling that every poor person charged with a serious crime in this country must be provided a lawyer for his defense at public expense. Panama City Attorney, W. Fred Turner (b. 1922) represented Gideon at his retrial and won an acquittal.

This is a photo (from left to right) taken in 2003 of David Gideon, Retired Judge Fred Turner (who represented Gideon on remand), and Ronald Gideon. David and Ronald are Clarence’s sons.


Here is a picture of (from left to right) of Ronald Gideon, David Gideon, Rebecca Saunders and Retired Judge Fred Turner (who represented Gideon on remand). Judge Turner, who reached out to the Gideon boys for this ceremony,  passed away on November 28, 2003 (a few months after this photo was taken).



Update:  Also, see this great YouTube video courtesy of