Case began back in 1961, in June of that year, one morning at about 5:30 in the morning, a breaking and entering took place at the bay harbor pool room in very small community of bay harbor, east of downtown Panama City which is located in the…in the pan handled of Florida. It’s a picture of the bay harbor poolroom. A window in the rear of the poolroom had been smashed. A garbage had been placed next to the window, and the intruder had climbed through the, through the window. That person once inside had drunk a lot of beer, cans of beer and had broken into the, into the juke box and into the cigarette machine and take, taken a lot of coins out of those 2 machines and also a bottle of wine.
Apparent its all Gideon who is looking across the street from the bay harbor poolroom was arrested later, later morning in a bar in downtown Panama City. And the picture of Gideon. When he appeared in front of court he pleaded not guilty and he asked for a lawyer. But the trial judge did not appoint counsel. The rule of best versus Brady, which was the United States supreme court case in fact that the time was that the constitution did not require the appoint of counsel every state not capital felony case! The best opinion did however say that counsel should be appointed whenever there was a special circumstance, one or more special circumstances present in that case which makes it difficult for the defendant to receive a fair trial without the assistance of counsel.
If an indigent defendant was younger, inexperienced or illiterate for example this would constitute a special circumstance which would require the trialed judge to appoint counsel for him. Gideon however was 51 years old at the time. He had, he have had previous experience for federal and state criminal courts and he was of at least average intelligence and because of the fact that there was no special circumstance, the trial judge Robert McCrary told him that he would have to conduct his own defense. Every judge has the inherent power to appoint counsel at any case. And court members, the bar require to take those, except those case and trial the case without fee if necessary. It’s part of the privilege of practicing law. Why didn’t the trial judge and the Gideon appoint counsel for him? Well probably because there were only 2 experienced criminal defense lawyers, trialed lawyers and that, in that circuit which contains 6 counties. They were Fred Turner and Vergil Mail. They row those circuit along with the circuit judges trying virtually all of the felonies in which the defendant’s had asked for a trial. If judge Mccrary or either of the other 2 circuit judges in that circuit had attempted to provide legal help in every case involving a innocent who wanted counsel, they only had 2 experienced criminal trials lawyers to choose from and they had no funds with which to pay the any, any lawyer they might appoint. This is picture of judge Mccrary.