On March 18, 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court in Gideon v.
Wainwright held that the Constitution
requires states to provide counsel for indigent criminal defendants.
For a unanimous Court, Justice Hugo Black wrote, "any person haled
into court, who is too poor to hire a lawyer, cannot be assured a
fair trial unless counsel is provided for him." Counsel had been
required for indigent federal defendants since 1938.
Read a history of the Right to Counsel from the National Legal Aid and Defender Association.
On March 18, 1922, a court in British-ruled India
sentenced Mohandas Gandhi to six years in prison for sedition in
connection with his civil disobedience campaign for Indian home
Read Gandhi's famous statement to the trial court. Gandhi served two years of his sentence and was then released.