Mar 20 2014

New Doc, Gideon’s Army, Profiles Courage of Public Defenders

Feature Stories | Published 20 Mar 2014, 10:24 am | Comments Off on New Doc, Gideon’s Army, Profiles Courage of Public Defenders -

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A 1963 Supreme Court ruling in the case Gideon Vs. Wainwright resulted in the phrase we know well, either through the movies or through personal experience: “You have to right to an attorney…If you cannot afford one, one will be provided for you at no cost to you.”

That means that poor people are assigned public defenders, most of whom handle hundreds of cases at a time and are chronically overworked and underpaid. But who are public defenders and how and why do they keep doing the work they do?

A new documentary called Gideon’s Army profiles three young public defenders, Travis Williams, Brandy Alexander and June Hardwick as they struggle to do their job despite the overwhelming challenges they face.

Gideon’s Army, directed by Dawn Porter, is screening twice tomorrow at Chuco’s Justice Center. It was an official selection at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival where it won an editing award. It was also an official selection of AFI Docs and won the Grand Jury Prize at the Miami International Film Festival, and was picked up by HBO Documentary Films.

GUEST: Dawn Porter, Director of Gideon’s Army, founder of Trilogy Films

Visit to find out more about the film.

Youth Justice Coalition has organized a free screening of Gideon’s Army on Friday March 21, at 6 pm, at Chuco’s Justice Center, 1137 E. Redondo Blvd Inglewood, CA 90302. Film maker Dawn Porter will take questions after the screening.

Dawn Porter, the director of the film, will attend the morning screening at Chuco’s, have coffee with us beforehand, and participate in a Q&A afterwards. We will also be holding a screening for the community that evening. Join us for this free film screening and a community discussion afterwards.

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