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)











[01/30/15 - 03:44 PM]
Video: "Game of Thrones" - Season 5 Trailer
The show's 10-episode fifth season kicks off on Sunday, April 12 at 9:00/8:00c.

[01/30/15 - 02:01 PM]
Production Has Started in New Orleans on "Zoo," CBS's New Drama Series Based on James Patterson's Bestselling Novel
The series starring James Wolk, Kristen Connolly, Billy Burke, Nora Arnezeder and Nonso Anozie will premiere in summer 2015.

[01/30/15 - 01:30 PM]
HBO Greenlights Miniseries "Lewis and Clark," Starring Casey Affleck and Matthias Schoenaerts, With Production to Begin This Summer
Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman are among the executive producers.

[01/30/15 - 01:01 PM]
Airdate of March 25 Set for "Nashville: On the Record 2," One Hour Music Special Featuring Performances by the Cast and Special Superstar Guest Reba
Direct from Nashville's world famous Grand Ole Opry House, cast members of ABC's acclaimed primetime series "Nashville" will take the stage to perform songs from the show and provide candid interviews backstage.

[01/30/15 - 11:34 AM]
ABC Family Begins Production and Announces Cast of Two Comedy Pilots: "Kevin from Work" and "Tough Cookie"
Both pilots are single-camera and are shooting in Los Angeles.

[01/30/15 - 11:24 AM]
HGTV Delivers Highest Rated Wednesday Night in Its History with "Property Brothers" and "House Hunters"
HGTV spins the numbers for Wednesday, January 28.

[01/30/15 - 10:30 AM]
USA Network Announces Super Bowl Spot for "Dig"
The 15-second spot will feature clips from the international production, premiering Thursday, March 5 at 10:00/9:00c.

[01/30/15 - 09:18 AM]
Chart Topping Fall Out Boy and Charli XCX Will Get the Party Started for Super Bowl XLIX at "VH1 + Papa John's(R) Super Bowl Blitz: A Concert for the Troops"
Joining tonight's celebration is Super Bowl XLIX's esteemed National Anthem singer Idina Menzel.

[01/30/15 - 09:06 AM]
"Rosie O'Donnell: A Heartfelt Stand Up," A Unique Hybrid of Comedy, Confession and Life-Saving Information, Debuts Feb. 14, Exclusively on HBO
Taped at the Levity Live Comedy Club inside the Palisades Center Mall in West Nyack, NY, the special showcases O'Donnell's skills as a laugh-out-loud stand-up comedian, while incorporating a vital message literally near and dear to her heart.

[01/30/15 - 08:44 AM]
Series Finale of "Parenthood" Delivers Its Biggest Overall Audience Since December 11, 2012
NBC spins the numbers for Thursday, January 29.

[01/30/15 - 08:36 AM]
ABC Dominates the First Night of the February Sweep with the Return of TGIT, Scoring its Highest Adult 18-49 Rating Since Season-Premiere Thursday
ABC spins the numbers for Thursday, January 29.

[01/30/15 - 08:34 AM]
Thursday's Broadcast Ratings: ABC's Dramas Return with a Demo Victory
"Scandal" and "Grey's Anatomy" return up double-digits from their fall finales in adults 18-49.

[01/30/15 - 08:16 AM]
Stephen Fry Joins BBC America This February as Host of Comedy Quiz Show "QI" and the BAFTA Film Awards
The newcomer will launch with three back-to-back episodes on Thursday, February 19 at 8:00/7:00c.

[01/30/15 - 07:30 AM]
USA Network Takes Viewers Behind-the-Scenes of the Upcoming Event Series "Dig" in an Original Half-Hour "Making-of" Special on Monday, February 23
As previously announced, the series launches on Thursday, March 5 at 10:00/9:00c.

[01/30/15 - 07:05 AM]
Aziz Ansari Returns to Netflix with Brand New Stand-Up Comedy Special
The special will launch on Friday, March 6 at 12:01am PT in all territories where Netflix is available.