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)





[08/28/16 - 08:26 AM]
Saturday's Broadcast Ratings: NFL Preseason Wins Again for CBS
The Eye takes home top honors among total viewers and adults 18-49.

[08/28/16 - 08:23 AM]
"Aquarius" Matches Its Season High in 18-49; Highest Ever for a Saturday Telecast
NBC spins the numbers for Saturday, August 27.

[08/27/16 - 09:00 AM]
Friday's Broadcast Ratings: CBS, NFL Preseason Snap NBC's Win Streak
The Eye wins the evening in both total viewers and adults 18-49.

[08/26/16 - 05:43 PM]
AT&T and HBO Reach Historic Multi-Platform Programming Agreement
The agreement renews HBO's existing contract with the AT&T DirecTV and U-verse services, and will also make all HBO and Cinemax content available on DirecTV NOW.

[08/26/16 - 03:00 PM]
New FOX Series "Pitch" and the Los Angeles Dodgers to Host "Take Your Daughter to a Game" Day at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, September 4
After the game, fans will have the exclusive chance to watch the series premiere on the Dodgers' DiamondVision screen.

[08/26/16 - 02:11 PM]
Video: Watch the All-New Promo from the Explosive Season Three Premiere of "Empire!"
The drama returns in Season Three, as the battle continues for the Soul of Empire.

[08/26/16 - 01:59 PM]
Post-Olympic "Voice" Jumps 2.5 Million Viewers in Live + 3, Biggest Lift of the Week Across All Networks
NBC further spins the numbers for the week of August 15-21.

[08/26/16 - 11:10 AM]
Hallmark Channel's "Chesapeake Shores" Increases Viewership with Episode Two
The Hallmark Channel spins the numbers for the week of August 15-21.

[08/26/16 - 10:06 AM]
Passion Becomes a Practice for Future Veterinarians as Animal Planet Premieres "Life at Vet U"
The six-part series premieres Saturday, October 1 at 10:00/9:00c.

[08/26/16 - 10:00 AM]
E!'s "Fashion Police" Returns to Cover the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards Monday, August 29th at 8:00PM ET/PT
Co-hosts Melissa Rivers, Giuliana Rancic and Brad Goreski, along with 2016 special co-hosts NeNe Leakes and Margaret Cho, will break down the hottest and most outrageous ensembles from the awards show and after parties.

[08/26/16 - 09:19 AM]
Thursday's Broadcast Ratings: NBC Tops Demos with NFL Preseason
The Peacock continues its win streak among adults 18-49.

[08/26/16 - 09:00 AM]
Production Begins and New Casting Announced on Freeform's New Comedy Pilot "Alone Together" from the Team at The Lonely Island
Esther Povitsky, Benji Aflalo and Eben Russell serve as writers and executive producers on the pilot.

[08/26/16 - 08:19 AM]
Video: Hip Hop Rules Thursday Nights This October on WE tv
Get your first look at the new season of "Growing Up Hip Hop" plus the new series "Money Power Respect."

[08/26/16 - 06:01 AM]
Netflix Releases Key Art for "Chef's Table: France"
The four special episodes are dedicated to four of the world's most renowned French chefs and will all premiere globally on September 2.

[08/26/16 - 03:16 AM]
ITV Commissions Second Series of "Marcella" Starring Anna Friel
Set in contemporary London and boldly told with Hans Rosenfeldt's unflinchingly clear Nordic style, the new season has been commissioned for transmission on ITV in 2017.