Gideon’s Army

Everyone deserves the best defense. They fight for it.

Three young, idealistic public defenders in the Deep South struggle against long hours, low pay and staggering caseloads to ensure justice is served for the people society would rather forget. 

Court System Fails Poor in Michigan

More than 12 million people were arrested in America in 2011. Most of them were charged with a crime and many were poor, qualifying for a public defender. The American Council of Chief Defenders suggests that each public defender handle no more than 400 misdemeanors or 150 felonies per year; many carry caseloads two to three times those guidelines... Read More

Michigan Closer to a Fix for Indigent Defense

Michigan lawmakers have approved legislation aimed at improving the legal counsel for low-income criminal defendants.                  

Bills overwhelmingly approved by the House and Senate Thursday would create state standards so counties are forced to bring legal aid up to par. The legislation could win final approval next week. Read More

Marking Gideon's Half-Century: The Continuing Struggle For Indigent Defense

We cannot overestimate the significance of Gideon. As Robert F. Kennedy said, "If an obscure Florida convict named Clarence Earl Gideon had not sat down in his prison cell … to write a letter to the Supreme Court … the vast machinery of American law would have gone on functioning undisturbed. But Gideon did write that letter, the court did look into his case … and the whole course of American legal history has been changed." Read More

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