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Directed by Dawn Porter

United States 2013 90 mins. In English

In 1963, the US Supreme Court decided the landmark case of Gideon v. Wainwright. The ruling was simple: in felony cases, people who cannot afford a lawyer must be provided one. Most states responded by creating offices for public defenders to defend poor people charged with serious crimes. But Gideon’s promise has not been fulfilled. Too many public defenders are little more than speed bumps on an indigent’s journey to conviction. Every year hundreds of innocent indigents are swept away in the crushing tide of a system strained to the breaking point. The reality is that innocents may spend decades in jail, many who are guilty are not brought to justice, and faith in the fairness and competency of the criminal justice system is ever more questioned.

The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.