Gideon's Army has been nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Information Programming category!

This Sundance Award winner profiles three dedicated but overworked public defenders in the southern states who fight to keep their clients out of jail in a system that’s stacked against them.

Gideon’s Army follows Travis Williams, Brandy Alexander and June Hardwick, who are part of a small group of idealistic lawyers in the Deep South dedicated to defending those who otherwise would not receive representation. Backed by mentor Jonathan “Rap” Rapping, a charismatic leader who heads the Southern Public Defender Training Center, these public defenders struggle against long hours, low pay and staggering caseloads so common that even the most committed often give up in their first year.

Travis Williams is a Gainesville, Georgia lawyer whose client, 20-year-old 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. June Hardwick, a Jackson, Mississippi attorney and single mother, struggles with keeping her job as a public defender while managing her 6‐figure student loan debt.

Lawyers in the Deep South face particularly difficult challenges. 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. 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.

"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,” says Travis Williams. “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.”

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, the landmark Gideon v. Wainwright case, 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. Most of them will be represented by one of the United States' 15,000 public defenders.

GIDEON'S ARMY is directed and produced by Dawn Porter of Trilogy Films Production in association with Motto Pictures with funding provided by the Ford Foundation & HBO Documentary Films.

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Credits (Click to expand)

FORD FOUNDATION and HBO DOCUMENTARY FILMS present 

A TRILOGY FILMS Production in association with MOTTO

PICTURES

 

DIRECTED AND PRODUCED BY

Dawn Porter

 

PRODUCED BY

Julie Goldman

 

EDITED BY

Matthew Hamachek

 

FOR HBO DOCUMENTARY FILMS

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

Sheila Nevins

 

FOR HBO DOCUMENTARY FILMS

SENIOR PRODUCERS

Nancy Abraham

Jacqueline Glover

 

CO-PRODUCER

Summer Damon

 

LINE PRODUCER

Carolyn Hepburn

 

CINEMATOGRAPHY BY

Chris Hilleke

Patrick Sheehan

 

ORIGINAL MUSIC COMPOSED BY

Paul Brill

STORY CONSULTANT

Christopher Clements

 

ASSOCIATE EDITOR

Phil Raymond

 

ASSISTANT EDITORS

Tim Kauffeld

Hannah Gregg

Lulu Fries D’estat

Tina Grapenthin

 

ADDITIONAL CAMERA OPERATORS

Derek Boyd

Hannah Gregg

Derek Hallquist

Chris Mendes

James Peterson

Dawn Porter

 

SOUND RECORDISTS

Patrick Sheehan

James Peterson

Wayne Reynolds

 

TRILOGY FILMS OFFICE MANAGER

Kamilah Clark

 

WRITERS

Dawn Porter

Matthew Hamachek

 

STILL PHOTOGRAPHER

Dawn Porter

 

TITLE DESIGN

Allison Moore

 

DI COLORIST

Will Cox

 

ONLINE EDITOR

Owen Rucker

 

ONLINE SERVICES

Final Frame

 

SUPERVISING SOUND EDITOR / RE-RECORDING MIXER

Christopher Barnett

 

SOUND CONSULTANT

Al Nelson

 

SOUND EFFECTS EDITOR

Jon Borland

 

MIX TECHNICIAN

Tony Villalfor

 

POST PRODUCTION SOUND FACILITY

Skywalker Sound

 

PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS

Andrew Beirut

Duc Khoi Dang

Hannah Gregg

Tim Kauffeld

 

LEGAL COUNSEL

Drew Patrick, Esq.

 

PRODUCTION ACCOUNTANT

Marcy Crimmins

 

WEBSITE

Nicole Becher

 

TRANSCRIPTIONS

Sara Barnes

Terri Hankins

 

SPECIAL THANKS

Grace Akan

Kate Amend

Nathan Appel

Nicholas Ashby

Jake Bandman

Julie Parker Benello

Phil Benson

Adam Benzine

Barbara Caver

John Countryman

Marshall Curry

The Honorable Judge Jason Deal

Natalie Difford

Sandi Dubowski

Lewis Erskine

Wendy Ettinger

Kristin Feeley

The Honorable Paul Fishman

Doug Ford

Barbara Freund

Ryan Friis

The Honorable Judge C. Andrew Fuller

Frank Grant

The Honorable Judge Tomie Green

Ryan Harrington

Maya Harris

Angel Harris

Judith Helfand

Heather Hendrix

The Honorable Eric Holder

Lucy Huggins

Heather Humphrey

Inkaholics Tattoo Parlor

Beth Janson

Jodi Johnson

Wright Jones

Leeta Jordan

William Labarre

Sharon LaCruise

Sheila Leddy

Michael Levine

Brian Long

Sean Lyness

Vik Malhotra

Mary Manhardt

Raha Maxwell

Elise McCave

Cara Mertes

H. Bradford Morris, Jr.

Tamir Muhammad

Joe Neal

Donna Nordan

The Honorable Judge Bonnie Oliver

Marion Pendleton

Jennie Pitts

Eva Porter

Jeannine Roberts

Jose Rodriguez

Jane Rosenthal

The Honorable Judge Matthew O. Simmons

Skydive ASC

Jess Search

Kerry Smith

The SPDTC Class of 2009

Sundance Documentary Edit Lab

Caitlin Tartaro

John Turpin

Christine A. Van Dross

The Wright Family

Fevie Wright

Joe Zeff Designs

The Gainesville Public Defender’s Office

The Clayton County Public Defender’s Office

The Hinds County Public Defender’s Office

 

VERY SPECIAL THANKS

 

Brandy Alexander

June Hardwick

Travis Williams

Brett Willis

Sharon Lewis

Branden Mullin

Jacquise Welchel

Demontes Wright

 

Orlando Bagwell

Kirsten Levingston

 

Jonathan Rapping

Ilham Askia

Elayne Rapping

Aaliyah Rapping

Lucas Rapping

 

David Graff

Eli Graff

Will Graff

Coraine Hope

 

MUSIC CONSULTANT

Jonathan McHugh

 

“True Believers”

Performed by BizoH & Greg Cahn

Writer: R. Samath/ O. Doniz/ G. Cahn & B. Hicks

Produced by Ruwanga Samath & O. Doniz for The Bird Call

Productions.

Courtesy of The Bird Call Productions & Song Stew

Entertainment

 

"Your Hand In Mine"

Music by Christopher Hrasky, Michael Aaron James, Munaf

Rayani, Mark Thomas Smith

Performed by Explosions in the Sky

From the album The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place (p) 2003

Temporary Residence, Ltd.

 

Fiscal Sponsor – Women Make Movies

 

Tribeca Film Institute

 

Chicken & Egg

 

Sundance Institute

 

Final Frame

 

Skywalker Sound

 

IFP Independent Film Week

 

Good Pitch

 

CBC News Network

 

The Fledgling Fund

 

Candescent Films

 

SPDTC has changed its name to Gideon’s Promise.

In 2012 they graduated their largest class of new Public

Defenders.

 

www.gideonspromise.org

 

www.gideonsarmythefilm.com

 

Motto Pictures

 

Trilogy

 

Ford Foundation

 

Copyright © 2013 Trilogy Films, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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