After a run as the opening night film in April at the Full Frame Documentary Festival in Durham, “Gideon’s Army,” Dawn Porter‘s gut-wrenching story of public defender life in the South (we described it here in “Resurrecting Gideon: The Public Defender Corps Gets Radical“) makes its public debut tonight on HBO.
Andrew Cohen at The Atlantic calls the film a “stomach-punch of a documentary,” one that even those only tangentially involved in the criminal justice system should take the time to watch:
I got angry watching Gideon’s Army, and I got sad watching it, and its details confounded me. I write about these issues all the time — I talk the talk — but the protagonists of the film are the people who walk the walk. They do so in full knowledge of the enormity of their task and of the obstacles that have been placed before them by the law and by politics, and yet they wake up every day and try to do their best.
The honorable judge who views this documentary should work harder afterward to better ensure the rights of indigent defendants. The honorable prosecutor should remember his or her oath of “doing justice” and not simply winning cases. The honorable lawmaker should pledge to better fund these defense lawyers.
The film will air at 9 pm with additional showings throughout the month.