By examining the Supreme Court decision in Gideon v. Wainwright and its aftermath, this lesson allows students to explore several concepts at once: the concept of legal precedent; the 6th Amendment right to an attorney and the guarantee of a public defender for indigent defendants; and the ways in which Supreme Court interpretation of a given part of the Constitution (in this case the 6th Amendment) can change over time. It also allows students to examine the current system of indigent defense in the United States and evaluate for themselves whether or not the intent and spirit of the Gideon precedent is actually being upheld across our nation.
The 6th Amendment: Gideon v. Wainwright
Grade Level Grades 9-12
Resource Type Lesson Plan