In the criminal justice system, public defenders play an integral role in making sure that defendants are properly represented. Gideon’s Army is a documentary which follows three young public defenders in the Deep South through their struggles to do this important work.
Travis Williams, Brandy Alexander and June Hardwick are mentored by Jonathan “Rap” Rapping, leader of the Southern Public Defender Training Center, also known as Gideon’s Promise. Their obstacles are low pay and gigantic caseloads which create a dizzying and stressful environment in which to work. The filmmakers ask, “nearly 50 years since the landmark Supreme Court ruling Gideon vs. Wainwright that established the right to counsel, can these courageous lawyers revolutionize the way America thinks about indigent defense and make “justice for all” a reality?”
The film was well-received after its 2013 launch, becoming an official selection in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the Sundance Film Festival and winning the editing prize there. Gideon’s Army was also nominated for a 2014 Emmy Award for Outstanding Informational Programming – Long Form. To find out more, visit the film’s website.