In recognition of the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright 372 U.S. 335 (1963), the National Equal Justice Library features three oral history interviews with key participants in and observers of the case: Abe Krash, Bruce Jacob, and Anthony Lewis. The interviews were part of the National Equal Justice Library Oral History Project. Many additional resources, including a link to a copy of Clarence Gideon's original petition for a Writ of Certiorari at the National Archives, can be found at Georgetown Law Library's Indigent Defense Research Guide.

Abe Krash

The interview with Abe Krash, who worked closely with Abe Fortas on Gideon's defense team, was conducted by Victor Geminiani on March 17, 1993. In the interview, Krash recalls Fortas' defense strategy, and reflected about the impact of the case as one of the landmark cases of constitutional law in the last fifty years. At the same time, he emphasized that "all of the hopes that we had have not been fulfilled. Abe Krash's biographical summary and a full transcript of his interview are available at Digital Georgetown.

Note: The original interview was recorded on VHS in 1993, and reformatted into the mp4 and webm file formats.

Bruce Jacob

The interview with Bruce Jacob, who argued against Gideon on behalf of the State of Florida as a young Assistant Attorney General, was conducted by Victor Geminiani on July 9, 1993. In the oral history interview, Jacob recalled his extensive preparation for the case. Assisted by his wife, Jacob worked in the county law library until late at night, copying thousands of excerpts from cases on 4x6 cards. Jacob also recalled the "brutal" oral argument in front of the Supreme Court. Reflecting on the case, and its profound impact on his life and career, he said that "Gideon was necessary." After Florida adopted a public defender system following the Supreme Court decision, Jacobs volunteered and served as a special assistant public defender. Bruce Jacob's biographical summary and a full transcript of the interview are available at Digital Georgetown.

Note: The original interview was recorded on VHS in 1993, and reformatted into the mp4 and webm file formats.

Anthony Lewis

Anthony Lewis covered the case as the Supreme Court reporter for the New York Times. Gideon's Trumpet, his book about Clarence Earl Gideon and the background of the case, was first published in 1964. In the interview, Lewis recalls how he became involved in the case after seeing Gideon's petition in the Supreme Court file room on June 4th, 1962, the day the Court agreed to hear the case. He also recalls his impressions after meeting with Clarence Gideon in the prison library of the Raiford Penitentiary. The interview with Lewis was conducted by Victor Geminiani on March 18, 1993. Anthony Lewis' biographical summary and a full transcript of the interview are available at Digital Georgetown.

Note: The original interview was recorded on VHS in 1993, and reformatted into the mp4 and webm file formats.