Skip to main content

Tonight at 9 ET HBO is playing the documentary, Gideon's Army. It's about three public defenders and their work.  Their work, lest we miss it, is no less than embodying the Sixth Amendment right to counsel and the right to free legal representation in criminal cases granted decades ago in Gideon v. Wainwright.

If we're going to have rational policies about crime and justice in the US, this documentary will inform the discussion. It will do that by revealing what goes on in situations non-lawyer (and people not accused of crimes) just don't know about.

Why am I telling Kossacks not to miss this show?

I was a public defender in New York for decades, and this is a topic close to my heart. Most people do not understand what's involved and what it means to fight for the Sixth Amendment. And most people don't understand the toll it takes on the advocates. And that those who fill these jobs are often heroes. Or the obvious difficulties in making the Sixth Amendment real: most governments who pay for the representation don't give a damn about whether it's any good.  Nobody gets up at the local board of supervisors meeting or in the state legislature to say, "We want to make the best possible Public Defense system. The Constitution requires it." And the Courts, in fact, will tell you that all the accused is entitled to is adequate representation. No. If there's good representation, its because of the courage and dedication of the lawyers. They're underpaid. The best ones fight like hell and they give a defense that nobody could afford, even if they were loaded.  

Please watch this show.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site