Gideon v. Wainwright

From: Florida Supreme Court case files, S. 49, Box 2780, Case 31116

Gideon Petitioner v. Wainwright Respondent, Page 2

Gideon Petitioner v. Wainwright Respondent, Page 2


intelligence or ability or because of any complications arising

out of the charge and a lack of familiarity with minimal essentials

of criminal procedure. In the absence of these allegations we

originally denied the writ on the authority of Betts v. Brady,

316 U. S. 455, 62 S. Ct. 1252, 86 L. Ed. 1595. As noted by the

United States Court in its opinion in the instance case, there is

a marked factual similarity between this case and Betts. In view

of the Betts precedent which we have followed since its announce-

ment in 1941, we felt obligated to follow its pronouncements in

this instance. In consequence of this view, we initially concluded

that the petition was fatally insufficient to motivate the issuance

of a post-conviction writ. Johnson v. Mayo, 158 Fla. 264, 28 So.

2d 585, cert. den. 329 U.S. 804, 67 S. Ct. 492, 91 L. Ed. 687.

By its instant opinion the Supreme Court of the United

States has expressly receded from the long-established rule

announced in Betts v. Brady, supra. We are now confronted with

the responsibility of taking note of the belatedly recognized

federal organic right to counsel authoritatively announced by the

United States Supreme Court in its Gideon opinion.

In order to meet this judicial responsibility we have

promptly undertaken to establish appropriate procedures that will

accord to prisoners an effective forum in which they may expedi-

tiously obtain a hearing and any relief to which they might be

entitled. We have taken judicial cognizance of the large number

of felons incarcerated in the state prison who potentially have

claims to relief because of absence of counsel at the time of their

trial and conviction. The task of reviewing these claims, if and

when asserted, appeared to be of such magnitude that it was essential

to establish an effective procedural remedy that would distribute the

judicial responsibility, while simultaneously according to the pris-

oner an expeditious and complete opportunity to obtain relief. Roy

v. Wainwright ____So. 2d ____Opinion field April 10, 1963.