Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of the United States Supreme Court's decision Gideon v Wainwright which required states to provide attorneys for indigent people charged with crimes. The case was decided under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. Clarence Gideon had been charged with stealing cigarettes, beer and wine from a poolroom in Panama City, Florida. One witness identified him. When his trial began Mr. Gideon told the judge that he was not prepared for trial because he did not have an attorney. The judge explained to him that under the laws of the State of Florida the court could only appoint counsel in capital cases. Mr. Gideon was tried and convicted. His case ended up before the US Supreme Court where he won a great victory for unrepresented criminal defendants.
A small leak developed in the closet ceiling of apartment 15L, a coop apartment. The Coop's engineer's opinion was that it was caused by a leak from the bathroom in apartment 16L. The 16L apartment owner retained our firm and an engineer whose opinion was that the leak was not emanating from our client's bathroom but rather from pipes higher up in the building.