Strange Bedfellows: Can Insurers Play a Role in Advancing Gideon’s Promise?

 In Symposium

Over fifty years ago, Gideon v. Wainwright resoundingly embraced the principle that public defenders are “necessities, not luxuries” and as such, are required to protect the accused person’s fundamental right to a fair trial. Fred Turner, Clarence Gideon’s lawyer on retrial, brought with him what his client lacked—expertise, skill, and knowledge of the law. Turner researched and argued a series of pre-trial motions; he reviewed the list of potential jurors before trial and knew which individuals to excuse; and he understood the courtroom and community culture. Most importantly, Turner conducted a thorough investigation that yielded fodder for his withering cross-examination of the State’s key witness and uncovered new exculpatory evidence. The jury acquitted after an hour and five minutes of deliberation.

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