Most of us are familiar with public defenders from TV shows, but do we really understand the crucial role they play in the justice system? In fact, they represent 80% of people charged in the system and provide legal representation to defendants who cannot afford private attorneys. However, they are often so overwhelmed by crushing caseloads that they’re unable to provide their clients with the bare minimum representation required by the Constitution.
Jon Rapping founded Gideon’s Promise in 2007 to change the public defense landscape across America. His goal is to groom a generation of public defenders to rise up and fight systemic inequity, and provide higher quality legal representation to marginalized communities. He spoke with Zachary Norris, Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, at the Uncharted Berkeley Festival of Ideas in Berkeley. Uncharted is a production of Berkeleyside.