On the 50th anniversary of its landmark Gideon ruling giving all criminal defendants access to a lawyer, the U.S. Supreme Court accepted a South Florida case asking whether defendants are entitled to hire the counsel of their choice when federal prosecutors freeze their assets before trial.

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled in the 1963 case of Clarence Gideon, who received a five-year sentence for a pool room theft in Panama City, that state courts are required to provide free representation to indigent defendants under the 14th Amendment. The decision caused the release of 2,000 Florida prisoners.

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