Keeping the Promise

public defender service

Fortifying & Reforming The Culture of Public Defense

In Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that every person accused of a crime in America must be provided with legal defense counsel, regardless of their economic status or ability to pay.

 

 

Stand with Gideon’s Promise

 

For 15 years and counting, the mission of Gideon’s Promise is to transform the criminal legal system by building a movement of public defenders who provide equal justice for marginalized communities. Gideon’s Promise, through its heroic public defenders, is working to reduce the effects of poverty, build stronger and more resilient communities, and keep families together.

Founded in 2007 by MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellow, Jonathan Rapping, and former educator, Ilham Askia, Gideon’s Promise has trained and supported over 1,500 public defenders across the country to transform the way public defense is practiced in America. Over 80% of Americans arrested cannot afford a private attorney, and will have a public defender appointed to them. Gideon’s Promise answers the need to have caring, confident and committed public defenders in every courtroom across America. Gideon’s Promise is collaborating with systems and individuals across 27 states to make justice a reality for all.

Lady Justice's Scale Isn't Balanced Yet

80% of people accused of a crime are represented by a public defender. Despite this reality, prosecutors’ offices nationwide receive $3.5 billion more in annual funding than public defender offices.

57% of incarcerated men and 72% of incarcerated women were in poverty prior to their arrest. Still, many states are decreasing funding for the public defenders dedicated to protecting these people.

The average caseload of a Gideon’s Promise-trained public defender is 250 cases per year. The American Bar Association recommends 150 felony cases annually.

Quotations

Featured Stories

“As a public defender, I have a heavy caseload and I try not to unload my stresses onto them. Thankfully, Gideon’s Promise gave me the skills and confidence to meaningfully represent my clients.”

Read more here.

Meghan Collier

Staff Attorney at the Office of the Public Defender in Atlanta, GA

Quotations

Featured Stories

“I work hard to provide my clients with the same dedication and service people would pay a lot of money for, because money is not my motivator.”

Read more here.

Kevin Coker

Attorney at the Metropolitan Public Defender's Office in Nashville, TN

Quotations

Featured Stories

I do not blame [the public defender] for what happened to my son. I just know that the system needs to be changed.”

Read more here.

Ms. Shana Bennett

Ms. Shana Bennett, whose son didn't receive zealous defense

Quotations

Featured Stories

“My client was old enough to be in jail, but not old enough to be properly treated in a facility that would help him in becoming competent enough to have a conversation with his attorney.”

Read more here. 

Alaina Bloodworth

Deputy Director for the Black Public Defender Association

Quotations

Featured Stories

“As a judge, I am committed to allowing attorneys–like Gideon’s Promise attorneys–to be able to litigate their case the same way they would be able to litigate it if they were working for a big law firm defending some multinational company.”

Read more here.

Honorable Judge Todd Edelman

Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia

Gideon’s Promise supports public defenders from our partner offices so that we can work together to transform the organizations and the systems in which they work. 

Upcoming Events

Featured News & Media

News & Media

Episode 26 - Honoring the Hispanic Community, Liberating the Next Generation

Learn More

Episode 25 - Back to School: Exploring the School to Prison Pipeline

Learn More

Episode 24 - Good Trouble Only

Learn More

Dobbs v. Jackson Official Statement

Learn More

Episode 23 - Stories of Fatherhood

Learn More

Gideon’s Promise Blazes Trails in Supporting Public Defenders in the Fight to End Mass Incarceration

Learn More

Episode 22 - My Mama, My Lawyer, My Shield

Learn More

The Augusta Chronicle

Learn More

2021 Annual Report

Learn More

Episode 21 – Let the Griots Tell It

Learn More

We’ve launched our new website!

Learn More

Arnold Ventures

Learn More

Gideon’s Promise Announces 2022 LSPP Fellows

Learn More

Episode 20 – Women in Power

Learn More

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Nominated for U.S. Supreme Court Justice

Learn More

Episode 19 – Black History Isn’t Just a Thing of the Past

Learn More

2022 Igniting Change hosted by Gideon’s Promise on March 17th!

Learn More

Episode 18 – I Need a Mentor, And I Need One Now!

Learn More

Episode 17 – The 2021 Rap Up

Learn More

Episode 16 – No Rookies, Just Vets

Learn More

Episode 15 – A Vote for Justice

Learn More

The Rick Ungar Show

Learn More

Episode 14 – The Fight for Our Legal Rights

Learn More

The Young Turks

Learn More

Ring of Fire

Learn More

Keen On with Andrew Keen

Learn More

Episode 13 – Part Two: What Does Independence Look Like in 2021?

Learn More

Episode 12 – Part One: What Does Emancipation Look Like in 2021?

Learn More

Left of Law School

Learn More

The Nomiki Show

Learn More

Make it Plain with Mark Thompson

Learn More

WDET 101.9 FM

Learn More

The Hill

Learn More

Episode 11 – Let’s Get Into It: Your Mental Health Matters

Learn More

Keeping the Promise of Equity for All People

Learn More

Episode 10 – Breaking Through the System: The Path to Healing

Learn More

Gideon’s Promise Welcomes 10 New LSPP Fellows

Learn More

Episode 9 – The Pipeline to Social Justice: From the Classroom to the Courtroom

Learn More

KISS 1044.1 FM Atlanta's R&B

Learn More

Episode 8 – Public Defenders and the Communities They Serve

Learn More

Episode 7 – Women of Color: Architects in the Public Defense Movement

Learn More

Criminal Justice Reform with Jonathan Rapping & Ilham Askia

Learn More

Episode 6 – The 2020 Election: Is History Repeating Itself?

Learn More

WBAI Radio

Learn More

Episode 5 – From the Voices

Learn More

JewishBoston

Learn More

90.1 FM WABE

Learn More

Law360

Learn More

Episode 4 – Public Defenders in the Trenches

Learn More

National Urban League

Learn More

1380 WAOK - The Rashad Richey Morning Show

Learn More

The Atlanta Voice

Learn More

Rude Radio

Learn More

1380 WAOK - The Voice of the Community

Learn More

V103 Atlanta - The Peoples Station

Learn More

RollingOut

Learn More

New York Beacon- #Hotoffthepress

Learn More

RED (Rehabilitation Enables Dreams)

Learn More

Episode 3 – An Ode to Public Defenders

Learn More

Episode 2 – The New Civil Rights Movement: Criminal Justice Reform

Learn More

Law360

Learn More

Episode 1 - The Critical Role of Public Defenders in Transforming Justice

Learn More

We Stand Against Injustice Everywhere

Learn More

Gideon's Promise Launches Podcast

Learn More

WSB-TV

Learn More

Gideon’s Promise Announced as One of the Inspire Change Grant Recipients

Learn More

Gideon’s Promise Welcomes 12 New LSPP Fellows

Learn More

2020 COVID-19: Gideon’s Promise Stands with Public Defenders Advocating for the Incarcerated Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Learn More

Circuit Public Defender Claudia Saari Honored

Learn More

NFL Legend Champ Bailey Honored

Learn More

The Washington Post

Learn More

Brennan Center for Justice

Learn More

Vox

Learn More

Daily Report

Learn More

Kamala D. Harris – U.S. Senator for California Introduces the Equal Defense Act of 2019

Learn More

Politico

Learn More

The Mercury News

Learn More

MSN.com

Learn More

Devdiscourse

Learn More

Gideon’s Promise to Host Igniting Change Fundraiser

Learn More

The Daily Report

Learn More

The Daily Report

Learn More

Closer Look with Rose Scott

Learn More

Gideon’s Promise to Host Training for Public Defenders at Morehouse College

Learn More

Atlanta Magazine

Learn More

The New York Times

Learn More

Closer Look with Rose Scott

Learn More

Atlanta Journal - Constitution

Learn More

Atlanta Journal - Constitution

Learn More

Southern Christian Leadership Conference National Magazine

Learn More

George Washington Law

Learn More

The Atlantic

Learn More

The Advocate

Learn More

Mother Jones

Learn More

Rolling Out

Learn More

Essence

Learn More

The Christian Science Monitor

Learn More

Atlanta Magazine

Learn More

The Nation

Learn More

The Nation

Learn More

Creative Loafing

Learn More

Talk Poverty

Learn More

Atlanta Trend

Learn More

Bill Moyer & Company

Learn More

National Public Radio (NPR) News

Learn More

Chronicle of Philanthropy

Learn More

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Learn More

The Baltimore Sun

Learn More

The Wall Street Journal

Learn More

The Washington Post

Learn More

Huffington Post

Learn More

Take Part

Learn More

Daily Journal

Learn More

International Documentary Association

Learn More

The Kojo Nnamdi Show

Learn More

Inside Scoop with Mark Levine

Learn More

The New York Times

Learn More

The New York Times

Learn More

Daily Motion

Learn More

Our Secret Weapon: Community

What makes Gideon’s Promise unique is our collective community of public defenders. Having a strong and secure support network is at the core of what makes Gideon’s Promise so successful.

When a public defender chooses to enter this line of work, they do so with passion and a genuine desire to help change the way our country’s legal system operates. The average caseload of a Gideon’s Promise public defender is 250 cases per year; however, the American Bar Association recommends 150 felony cases annually. A public defender’s role defending and protecting the most vulnerable communities throughout the country can become increasingly more difficult and exhausting as they progress in their career due to the lack of resources and manpower within their offices.

That is where Gideon’s Promise steps in. Gideon’s Promise has a wide range of services and resources that engages its public defender community to lean on and utilize for support. We meet public defenders wherever they are in their career. Through our programs, public defenders get to restore their passion for fighting injustice in the communities they serve. They can find a network of like-minded individuals who understand the overwhelming nature of their work. Our programs offer a lifeline to public defenders – our country’s frontline workers in the fight against injustice.

About Us

Who We Are,
For The Record

Gideon’s Promise is a tax-exempt 501c3 that equips Public Defenders to provide zealous protection to people pushed aside or left behind by the criminal legal system. For nearly two decades, we’ve worked to end mass incarceration and to keep Gideon’s promise by transforming the culture of public defense.

Donate $15 for 15

Protecting The Promise

You don't have to be a public defender to protect the promise of zealous counsel for all. Your monthly contribution--no matter the amount--will directly impact the fate of a client accused of a crime, who didn't know they needed you.