Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
A U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court used the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to extend the constitutional right to an attorney in federal criminal cases for those who could not afford representation to indigent defendants in state prosecutions. The indigent defendant was represented gratis by future Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas. The ruling greatly increased the use of public defenders. In 2002, the Court ruled the right applied in all cases where jail time is a possible punishment.