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Episode 1: Triage
Can an attorney handle more than 100 criminal cases at a time? That's the reality for a public defender like Jeff Esparza, who represents defendants unable to afford their own lawyers in Kansas City. The public defender system in Missouri--and across the nation--is underfunded, understaffed and overworked. Attorneys say their clients are slipping through the cracks. The system fails people like Kevin Shepard, who sat in jail for months before ever meeting his overworked public
|Nov 06, 2019|
Episode 2: How did we get here?
Americans didn't always have the right to an attorney. It all started with a pool hall robbery in Florida, and an unlikely legal advocate: a poor drifter named Clarence Earl Gideon. Gideon brought the fight for free counsel to the Supreme Court 50 years ago -- and won. But all these years later, the promise of Gideon goes unfulfilled everyday. This is the story of how we built the public defender system and how we broke it. And what happened when Ricky Kidd was charged with murder in 1997 and was forced to rely on this broken system.
|Nov 13, 2019|
Broken Justice Trailer
In 1997, Ricky Kidd was sentenced to life without parole for a double homicide he says he didn't commit. And he says his court-appointed lawyer is the reason. In the U.S. justice system, everyone has the right to an attorney, even if you can't afford one. But what happens when your lawyer is overworked, underfunded and unable to do their job? From the PBS NewsHour, a look inside Missouri's public defender system at a crisis point and what it means for serving justice in America.
|Oct 29, 2019|