Criminal Rights 1960’s Supreme Court Cases

Supreme Court Cases
Gideon vs. Wainwright
• 1963
• state courts are required under the Fourteenth
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to provide
counsel in criminal cases to represent
defendants who are unable to afford to pay their
own attorneys.
• Clarence Earl Gideon convicted of unarmed
burglary in FL (Wainwright = State Prosecutor)
Reynolds vs. Sims
• 1964
• Sims was a voter who sued Alabama
• requires that the legislative districts across states be
equal in population; redistricting
• Chief Justice Earl Warren:
– the United States is a democracy based on equal representation
of the people in government, an apportionment scheme that
gives more weight to some votes than others violates the Equal
Protection Clause, which forbids a state from denying "to any
person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
Because the right to vote is so fundamental to securing
protection from the laws, the clause inevitably guarantees "the
opportunity for equal participation by all voters in the election of
state legislatures."
NY Times Co. vs. Sullivan
• 1964
• requires that the plaintiff in a
defamation or libel case prove
that the publisher of the
statement in question knew that
the statement was false or
acted in reckless disregard of
its truth or falsity
• NY Times reported Civil Rights
information incorrectly;
defamed Alabama
(Montgomery Public Safety
Commissioner, L.B. Sullivan)
Miranda vs. Arizona
• 1966
• statements made in response to interrogation by a
defendant in police custody will be admissible at trial
only if the prosecution can show that the defendant was
informed of the right to consult with an attorney before
and during questioning and of the right against selfincrimination prior to questioning by police, and that the
defendant not only understood these rights, but
voluntarily waived them.
• Miranda Rights must be read to you during arrest
• Ernesto Miranda was convicted of kidnapping, rape, &
armed robbery