On March 18, 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Gideon v. Wainwright, ruled unanimously that state courts were required to provide legal counsel to criminal defendants who could not afford to hire an attorney on their own.
On this date:
In 1766, Britain repealed the Stamp Act of 1765.
In 1837, the 22nd and 24th president of the United States, Grover Cleveland, was born in Caldwell, N.J.
In 1913, King George I of Greece was assassinated in Thessaloniki.
In 1937, some 300 people, mostly children, were killed in a gas explosion at a school in New London, Texas.
In 1938, Mexican President Lazaro Cardenas nationalized his country's petroleum reserves and took control of foreign-owned oil facilities.
In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order authorizing the War Relocation Authority, which was put in charge of interning Japanese-Americans, with Milton S. Eisenhower (the younger brother of Dwight D. Eisenhower) as its director.
In 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Hawaii statehood bill. (Hawaii became a state on Aug. 21, 1959.)
In 1962, France and Algerian rebels signed the Evian Accords, a cease-fire agreement which took effect the next day, ending the Algerian War.
In 1965, the first spacewalk took place as Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov went outside his Voskhod 2 capsule, secured by a tether.
In 1974, most of the Arab oil-producing nations ended their embargo against the United States.
In 1980, Frank Gotti, the 12-year-old youngest son of mobster John Gotti, was struck and killed by a car driven by John Favara, a neighbor in Queens, N.Y. (The following July, Favara vanished, the apparent victim of a gang hit.)
In 1990, thieves made off with 13 works of art from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston (the crime remains unsolved).
Ten years ago: A jury in Corpus Christi, Texas, cleared Bayer Corp. of liability in a $560 million lawsuit that accused the pharmaceutical giant of ignoring research linking the cholesterol-lowering drug Baycol to dozens of deaths. In Salt Lake City, Brian Mitchell and Wanda Barzee were charged with aggravated kidnapping, sexual assault and burglary in the abduction of Elizabeth Smart, who was found with them six days earlier. (Although both were initially found incompetent to stand trial, Mitchell was eventually convicted of kidnapping and sexual assault, while Barzee pleaded guilty to kidnapping and unlawful transportation charges.) Olympic gold medal figure skater Sarah Hughes won the Sullivan Award as the nation's top amateur athlete.
Five years ago: Democrat Barack Obama confronted America's racial divide head-on with a speech in Philadelphia in which he urged the nation to break "a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years." German Chancellor Angela Merkel earned a standing ovation from Israel's parliament with a speech that included a tribute to the victims of the Holocaust. Oscar-winning filmmaker Anthony Minghella ("The English Patient") died in London at age 54.
One year ago: Mitt Romney scored an overwhelming win in Puerto Rico's Republican presidential primary, trouncing chief rival Rick Santorum.
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