Indigent defendants must be provided counsel by the court. In the Supreme Court decision of Gideon v. Wainwright in 1963, the Supreme Court held that indigent defendants must be provided representation without charge. Previously Gideon had been accused of committing a felony. Because he was indigent, Gideon requested the court provide him with an attorney free of charge. The court denied his request. Later the Supreme Court decided that the sixth amendment to the U.S. Constitution, requires that indigent criminals should be provided with a defense attorney free of charge.
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