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Commemorating 50 years of the right to counsel

Published: September 9th, 2013

Category: News


Clarence Earl Gideon

A criminal defendant’s right to counsel is often taken for granted in today’s justice system, but until 50 years ago that right was not guaranteed. It wasn’t until the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Gideon v. Wainwright that courts were required to provide counsel for those who could not afford their own attorneys.

The University of Florida Levin College of Law’s Criminal Justice Center will commemorate the 50th anniversary of this important ruling with “The Right to Counsel, 50 Years Later: From Gideon v. Wainwright to The Public Defender v. State of Florida.” The presentation, which also honors UF Law Professor Emeritus Fletcher Baldwin’s 50 years of teaching, will be Sept. 19 in the Martin Levin Advocacy Center courtroom, noon to 3 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

Speakers at the event will include Paul Rashkind, supervisory assistant federal public defender for the Southern District of Florida, and Carlos Martinez, public defender for the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida. The keynote speaker will be Bruce Jacob, dean emeritus and professor of law at Stetson University College of Law. Jacob argued against Gideon for the State of Florida in Gideon v. Wainwright in 1963.

The speakers will provide a historical review of the Gideon case and look at the right to counsel for indigent defendants both past and present.

Fletcher Baldwin joined the University of Florida Levin College of Law teaching staff in 1962. His previous educational experiences are vast, working at Princeton, Yale and many other universities throughout the country, as well as teaching in South Africa, England and Mexico. He has argued appeals before the United States Supreme Court and death penalty cases before the Florida Supreme Court. The Emeritus Professor has myriad professional affiliations in both the United Kingdom and the U.S. and was named the Chesterfield Smith Professor in 2000.

This event is approved for 3 CLE general credits.




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