"Gideon's Army" and Public Defenders

Monday, June 24, 2013

Dawn Porter, director of “Gideon’s Army,” and Travis Williams, a public defender profiled in the documentary, discuss the work of public defenders. The film follows a group of idealistic young public defenders in the Deep South, where lawyers face particularly difficult challenges due to high bonds, minimum mandatory sentencing and a culture that is traditionally "tough on crime." It airs at 9:00 pm on July 1 on HBO.


Dawn Porter and Travis Williams

Comments [4]

K from NY

"... many assigned counsel are subject to few qualifications, training requirements or other rules... and little meaningful oversight..."

A Study for Chief Judge Kaye’s Commission
on the Future of Indigent Defense Services

With the
Based upon our experience in conducting similar statewide studies of indigent defense systems in 40 states across the country, it is our professional opinion that New York State is
currently failing to provide a substantial number of indigent defendants with adequate and meaningful representation as required by the state and federal constitutions and the laws of New
York State."

Jun. 25 2013 01:44 PM
Wayne Johnson Ph.D. from Bk

Leonard really did a great job interviewing Dawn and Travis. Thanks

Jun. 24 2013 02:59 PM
suzinne from Bronx

It's all very well and good that poor people get legal assistance with their criminal cases. But how about civil matters? If you're an illegal immigrant, are HIV positive or a transexual you can get assistance. However, there are hundreds of thousands of junk debt cases going before out courts, and there's little or no help for the people being preyed on by these bottom feeding third party debt buyers.

Going up against a plaintiff's attorney and a judge is one daunting enterprise. And I know because I am one of them.

Jun. 24 2013 12:24 PM
Des from Boulder, CO

I had a friend who was a PD in a major city who managed to get his client a mere 18 years for the murder of his ex-wife's lover and attempted murder of her. Despite the judge raving his representation, he still complained about how his lawyers didn't care. A day later, my friend was dead. They claimed it was suicide but you can't help wondering what really happened. He wasn't a newbie. He had been a ADA for years before becoming a PD.

Jun. 24 2013 12:16 PM

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