Serious problems persist in indigent legal defense - Article Photos 1/2

FILE - This Aug. 6, 1963, file photo shows Clarence Earl Gideon, 52, the mechanic who changed the course of legal history, after his release from a Panama City, Florida, jail. Gideon was wrongly charged in 1961 with burglary and sentenced to five years in prison. He filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that his constitutional right to liberty was denied when Florida refused him an attorney. A unanimous Supreme Court issued its decision in Gideon v. Wainwright on March 18, 1963, declaring that states have an obligation to provide defendants with "the guiding hand of counsel" to ensure a fair trial for the accused. But in many states, taxpayer-funded public defenders face crushing caseloads, the quality of legal representation varies from county to county and people stand before judges having seen a lawyer only briefly, if at all. (AP Photo, File)