ELI5: Explain Like I'm 5

powell v. alabama

Powell v. Alabama was a court case from a long time ago in 1932. It was about some young boys who were accused of a very serious crime called rape. They were on trial and could have been sent to jail for a very long time, or even worse, they could have been put to death.

The problem was that the boys did not have a lawyer to help them. A lawyer is someone who knows a lot about the law and can help you defend yourself in court. The judge wanted to go ahead with the trial, even though the boys didn't have a lawyer.

So, some other people who knew a lot about the law got involved and they asked the Supreme Court – which is a really important group of judges – to help. The Supreme Court agreed to help and heard the arguments from both sides. They listened to what the boys had gone through and also to what the judge had to say about why he thought it was ok to continue the trial without a lawyer for the boys.

In the end, the Supreme Court decided that the boys had not been treated fairly. They said that everyone who is going to trial – even people who are accused of doing something really bad – should have a lawyer to help them. The court also said that the boys should get a new trial, but this time they should definitely have a lawyer to help them.

This case was really important because it helped make sure that everyone gets a fair trial, no matter who they are or what they are accused of doing. It also helped make sure that people who are accused of a crime get the help that they need to defend themselves in court.