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Thu Jan 24, 2013, 12:52 PM

 

"Gideonís Army": Young Public Defenders Brave Staggering Caseloads, Low Pay to Represent the Poor

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The new documentary "Gideonís Army" follows a group of young public defenders in the Deep South who contend with low pay, long hours and staggering caseloads to represent the poor. The filmís title comes from the landmark 1963 Supreme Court ruling in Gideon v. Wainwright that established the right to counsel to defendants in criminal cases who are unable to afford their own attorneys. Weíre joined by "Gideonís Army" director and producer Dawn Porter, and Travis Williams, a Georgia public defender who is featured in the film. (Transcript to come. Check back soon.)

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/1/24/gideons_army_young_public_defenders_brave

49:58 video at link. Well worth it. As is dusting this off and reading it from time to time.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0372_0335_ZS.html

7 replies, 2352 views

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Reply "Gideonís Army": Young Public Defenders Brave Staggering Caseloads, Low Pay to Represent the Poor (Original post)
rug Jan 2013 OP
kestrel91316 Jan 2013 #1
rug Jan 2013 #2
barbtries Jan 2013 #3
rug Jan 2013 #4
ProgressiveProfessor Jan 2013 #5
rug Jan 2013 #6
nick of time Jan 2013 #7

Response to rug (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 01:31 PM

1. I have a young cousin who is a public defender. He's also gay.

 

He's doing God's work. I hope he finds it rewarding enough to keep doing it for a long, long time.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 01:43 PM

2. Good for him. I hope he keeps at it.

 

I worked for Legal Aid in NYC for ten years. Staying mad helped a lot. Then I got fed up with the traffic and moved to Pennsylvania. I still do conflict counsel work with the local PD but that office is lethargic in comparison.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 08:17 PM

3. my son's graduating from law school in May.

he wants to be a defense attorney. i think we need to watch this film.

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Response to barbtries (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 08:49 PM

4. Good luck to him.

 

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Response to rug (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 10:10 PM

5. Public Defender resources and effectiveness has always been weak in my experience

There have been times I have helped with private lawyer bills when the case was egregious and the Public Defender was not up to the task. Too many times I have seen the innocent plead out since they knew they were not going to get an effective defense.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #5)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 05:39 AM

6. The clip talks about the pressure to plead guilty.

 

Mainly because of the possible sentences which are often magnified by being overcharged. The pressure is worse when you can't make bail.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 11:28 AM

7. A worthy cause.

 

Most people just can't afford the fees of a good defense attorney.
I applaud the efforts of these fine attorneys to help the poor get quality representation.

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