I don't know how many people have HBO, but, tomorrow night, there's a documentary I've been meaning to watch for awhile called Gideon's Army that's airing. It's part of the Sundance Film Festival this year.
I haven't seen it yet, so there's not much I can say. However, he's a pretty good review of what it's about: Link
Nearly 50 years ago, a landmark Supreme Court ruling Gideon vs. Wainwright established that a defendant in a criminal case has a right to counsel. That ruling sparked the beginning of court-appointed public defenders. This cogent and powerful documentary for HBO takes us into the lives of three public defenders in the South, in jurisdictions that are the most underfunded and understaffed.
Filmmaker Dawn Porter takes us into the lowest bowels of the court system, following three public defenders (Travis Williams, Brandy Alexander, June Hardwick) as they struggle to provide not only their best legal skills but to maintain their humanity as well.
They are overburdened with hundreds of cases, most of which involve the arduous process of plea-bargaining. In the majority of cases, the defenders face the fact that they can, at best, provide the least-worst outcome for those they defend.
Anyway, everyone should watch. But if not, here's at least the trailer to watch instead:
Also, the Daily Show had an interview with the producer of the film that goes into a bit more detail: Link