or


[06/11/13 - 01:32 PM]
"Gideon's Army," an Inside Look at the Criminal Justice System Through the Eyes of Idealistic Young Public Defenders in the South, Debuts July 1 on HBO
The Dawn Porter-directed film was the winner of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival Editing Award for U.S. Documentary Competition.

[via press release from HBO]

"GIDEON'S ARMY," AN INSIDE LOOK AT THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM THROUGH THE EYES OF IDEALISTIC YOUNG PUBLIC DEFENDERS IN THE SOUTH, DEBUTS JULY 1 ON HBO

Documentary Won 2013 Sundance Editing Award

In 1961, Clarence Earl Gideon was arrested for stealing soda and a few dollars from a pool hall. Unable to afford an attorney, he was convicted after representing himself at trial. Gideon appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court, which ruled unanimously that the right to counsel in a criminal case is fundamental to the American system of justice.

More than 12 million people are arrested in the United States each year. Fifty years after the landmark Gideon v. Wainwright case, most of them will be represented by one of the United States' 15,000 public defenders.

Directed by attorney Dawn Porter and winner of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival Editing Award for U.S. Documentary Competition, GIDEON'S ARMY 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." The thought-provoking film debuts MONDAY, JULY 1 (9:00-10:45 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

Other HBO playdates: July 1 (5:20 a.m.), 7 (1:05 p.m.), 9 (4:00 p.m., 12:15 a.m.), 13 (9:45 a.m.) and 19 (8:15 a.m.)

HBO2 playdate: July 3 (11:15 a.m., 8:00 p.m.)

HBO Documentary Films presents another weekly series this summer, debuting provocative new specials every Monday through August 12. Other July films include: "Gasland Part II" (July 8); "The Crash Reel" (July 15); "The Cheshire Murders" (July 24); and "First Comes Love" (July 29).

Brandy Alexander, Travis Williams and June Hardwick have dedicated themselves to defending those who otherwise would not receive representation, contending with a day-to-day life of low pay, long hours and staggering caseloads. Despite these obstacles, with the help of the Southern Public Defender Training Center (SPDTC), these young professionals are inspired to take on this unique challenge in the name of public service.

Travis Williams is a Gainesville, Ga. lawyer whose client, Branden Lee Mullin, has been accused of armed robbery and faces a minimum of ten years to a maximum of life in prison. Brandy Alexander has served as a public defender in both Georgia and Florida and is preparing to go to trial on behalf of her client, Demontes Regary Wright, a young man also charged with armed robbery.

The demands on these public defenders can be overwhelming: The average caseload for a public defender in Miami Dade County, Fla. is 500 felonies and 225 misdemeanors. Not surprisingly, many public defender offices across the nation have an incredibly high turnover rate. The pace is exhausting, and the legal wrangling intense, but these young public defenders persevere. Knowing the stakes are high - and their clients' lives will be deeply affected by what they do, or fail to do - they push themselves to the limit over and over again.

Does their work have to be this difficult? Experts cite the nation's approach to criminal justice to explain the dire state of indigent defense. In many southern states, bonds for misdemeanor crimes are exorbitantly high, as much as $40,000 for misdemeanor crimes like shoplifting, which most defendants cannot afford. This leads to a high rate of pretrial detention for indigent clients, with many serving months or even years in prison without a trial. Another factor is the rate of plea bargaining intended simply to end pretrial detention. Notes Brett Willis, a senior public defender featured in the film, "The reality is 90% or 95% of the people who get charged with something plead guilty... because the system is designed to force them to plead guilty and it punishes their failure to comply."

In addition to lengthy prison sentences, clients found guilty can face severe civil sanctions, which can result in such extreme punishments as: losing eligibility for public benefits, such as federal student loans; losing the ability to live in public housing with one's family; losing the right to vote; and, in some regions, losing the right to hold a driver's license, which can be a severe obstacle to finding post-incarceration employment.

Along with the perilous circumstances facing the accused, public defenders typically face a multitude of trying professional and personal circumstances, for which no amount of training can prepare them. Notes Travis Williams, "I have huge student loan debt. After I pay my student loans and my rent, all I have left is probably $300 a month to pay extra bills like gas and the car, all that kind of stuff, groceries. But I don't see how you can do this work for any period of time and not begin to love it. If you don't, then it'll just drive you insane."

These committed attorneys are backed by mentor Jonathan Rapping, the dynamic leader of the Atlanta-based Southern Public Defender Training Center (SPDTC), designed to fill a void in the training currently available to young public defenders. The center offers a comprehensive curriculum designed specifically for public defenders and geared toward the improvement of indigent defense representation and raising the standard of practice in jurisdictions nationwide. The group often provides emotional support, in addition to practical instruction, as the young public defenders talk about their work and empathize over similar situations.

As Rapping states in one of their seminars, "This will be a battle that will be won, and your children will look back on this struggle to save people from this unjust, cruel, inhumane criminal justice system. And you all will be the foot soldiers, you will be the ones who brought that about."

The U.S. incarcerates more citizens annually than any other industrialized nation. At the beginning of 2008, 2.3 million Americans were behind bars, followed by China with 1.5 million. Director Dawn Porter explains, "Americans are fascinated with crime, and yet few know the truth about how the criminal justice system really works. GIDEON'S ARMY presents a rare true look at the criminal justice system from the vantage point of the accused. I wanted to be sure the inspiring, challenging nature of the work these public defenders do, which involves a tremendous amount of personal sacrifice in service to our constitutional rights, was given the attention it deserved."

The film is produced in association with the Ford Foundation.

For more information on the documentary, visit: Facebook: facebook.com/hbodocs; and Twitter: @HBODocs #GideonsArmy.

GIDEON'S ARMY is directed and produced by Dawn Porter; producer, Julie Goldman; editor, Matthew Hamachek; co-producer, Summer Damon; original music, Paul Brill. For HBO: senior producers, Nancy Abraham and Jacqueline Glover; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.





  [june 2013]  
S
M
T
W
T
F
S
      


· SHOWATCH
(series past and present)
· DEVWATCH
(series in development)
· MOVIEWATCH
(tv movies and mini-series)





[04/25/17 - 01:13 PM]
Adam Sandler and Chris Rock Reunite for New Netflix Comedy The Week Of
The film will premiere globally on Netflix in 2018.

[04/25/17 - 12:46 PM]
NFL Players Association and Morris Animal Refuge Team Up for Animal Planet's "Road to Puppy Bowl Draft Adoption Event" in Philadelphia on April 26
14 lucky four-legged MVP's will hear their names called, get added to the draft board and learn their new home teams.

[04/25/17 - 12:17 PM]
The ABC Television Network Announces Series Season Finale Dates
Said finales run from this Sunday ("American Crime") through Tuesday, May 23 ("Dancing with the Stars").

[04/25/17 - 12:08 PM]
American Heroes Channel Salutes Bravery, Strength and Sacrifice with Three-Day Heroes Weekend
Starting Friday, AHC is dedicating three days of programming to the courageous veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect and preserve the freedoms we enjoy today.

[04/25/17 - 12:00 PM]
AMC Releases Premiere Date and Key Art for the Final Season of "Turn: Washington's Spies"
The 10-episode final season opens on Saturday, June 17 at 9:00/8:00c with a two-hour premiere.

[04/25/17 - 10:03 AM]
AMC Heading Deeper "Into the Badlands" - Series Renewed for Expanded 16-Episode Third Season, Returning in 2018
Midway through its current second season, "Into the Badlands" is averaging 3.6 million viewers per episode, including 2.1 million adults 25-54 in Nielsen Live+3 ratings.

[04/25/17 - 10:01 AM]
"Full Frontal with Samantha Bee's" "Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner" to Stream on Twitter After TBS Debut
Fans on Twitter in the United States will be able to access the stream by going to samanthabee.twitter.com, as well as via the @FullFrontalSamB Twitter handle.

[04/25/17 - 10:00 AM]
For the First Time, Celebrities Go Undercover on Two Special Editions of "Undercover Boss"
"Celebrity Undercover Boss" will feature Grammy Award-winning musician Darius Rucker on Friday, May 12, and chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson on Friday, May 19.

[04/25/17 - 09:29 AM]
Harry Styles to "Move Into" the "The Late Late Show with James Corden" Studio for First Ever Week-Long Residency, May 15 - May 18
The residency coincides with the release of his highly anticipated solo album.

[04/25/17 - 09:20 AM]
Warner Bros. Television and DC Entertainment Announce All-New Live-Action Series "Titans," from Executive Producers Akiva Goldsman, Geoff Johns, Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter, to Debut in 2018
Additionally, Warner Bros. Animation's "Young Justice: Outsiders," the highly anticipated third season of the popular "Young Justice" series, is also ramping up for its first mission next year.

[04/25/17 - 09:07 AM]
Season 3 of CNBC's "The Filthy Rich Guide" Begins May 10th
Season 3A airs for five consecutive Wednesdays with the remaining five episodes of Season 3B due on August 15.

[04/25/17 - 08:21 AM]
Monday's Broadcast Ratings: NBC, "The Voice" Remain on Top in Demos
ABC, "Dancing with the Stars" then are the most-watched overall.

[04/25/17 - 08:14 AM]
Elvis Costello & The Imposters to Perform at After-Party for "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee's" First Annual "Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner"
All proceeds from "Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner" will go to the Committee to Protect Journalists (cpj.org).

[04/25/17 - 07:01 AM]
TBS Renews "The Detour" for Third Season
"I hear from so many people who love 'The Detour,' even my hardcore comedy friends," said Thom Hinkle, senior vice president of original programming for TBS.

[04/25/17 - 07:00 AM]
"The New I Love Lucy Superstar Special" Featuring Two Classic Episodes to Be Broadcast Friday, May 19
The two episodes, "The Dancing Star," featuring Van Johnson, and "Harpo Marx," with comedian Harpo Marx, are newly colorized with a nod to the 1950s period in which they were filmed.