50 Years after Gideon v Wainwright the HBO Documentary Gideon’s Army outlines America’s Broken Criminal Justice System

HBO Documentary Gideon's Army

HBO Documentary Gideon’s Army

Gideon’s Army is the HBO documentary outlining the struggles of everyday hardworking Public Defenders in the Deep South. The movie is being featured at numerous film festivals across the country. The official website devoted to the film provides the following synopsis . . .

GIDEON’S ARMY follows the personal stories of Travis Williams, Brandy Alexander and June Hardwick, three young public defenders who are part of a small group of idealistic lawyers in the Deep South challenging the assumptions that drive a criminal justice system strained to the breaking point. Backed by mentor Jonathan “Rap” Rapping, a charismatic leader who heads the Southern Public Defender Training Center (now known as Gideon’s Promise), they struggle against long hours, low pay and staggering caseloads so common that even the most committed often give up in their first year. Nearly 50 years since the landmark Supreme Court ruling Gideon vs. Wainwright that established the right to counsel, can these courageous lawyers revolutionize the way America thinks about indigent defense and make “justice for all” a reality?

Sometimes those of us in Louisiana forget that we too live in the “Deep South.” I know it is fashionable to focus on injustice in the broken criminal justice systems in places like Atlanta and New Orleans. But the truth is our system is just as flawed and our Public Defenders are under the same pressures as those depicted here.

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