Episode 4 – Public Defenders in the Trenches


On This Episode

This episode of Gideon’s Promise: The Podcast explores the challenges our public defenders are facing during this devastating pandemic and their responses to the protests erupting throughout the country against racial injustice. Co-hosts Jonathan Rapping and Ilham Askia, speak with two Gideon’s Promise Alumni — Brandon Ball, Assistant Public Defender – Felony Trial Division, Harris County Public Defender’s Office in Houston, Texas and Georgia Sims, Assistant Deputy Public Defender & Training Director, Metropolitan Public Defender’s Office in Nashville, Tennessee. They will speak about why they stay in the fight to reform public defense, the challenges they face in this historic time, and what being a public defender means! Enjoy!


About The Guests


Brandon Ball currently serves as Assistant Public Defender within Harris County Public Defender Office’s Felony Trial Division located in Houston, Texas. In conjunction and prior to, Brandon has successfully managed a private practice firm, the Ball Law Firm, for over eight years.

Brandon completed his educational studies at Sam Houston State University (Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice) and Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law (Juris Doctorate).

Brandon enjoys engaging in a number of local professional organizations, including Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Brandon Ball on Facebook 

Brandon Ball on Twitter 


Georgia Sims is a Nashville native and attended Vanderbilt University Law School, where she served as Executive Director of the Vanderbilt Legal Aid Society and as an editor for the Vanderbilt Law Review. She received the 2008-09 Damali A. Booker Award in recognition of her commitment to public service.

Ms. Sims joined the Nashville Defenders in 2009 as an Assistant Public Defender.  She served as the supervising attorney for one of the office’s criminal court teams from 2014 to 2018. She became the Training Director in 2018 and the Assistant Deputy in 2019.

Ms. Sims is a graduate of the Gideon’s Promise (formerly the Southern Public Defender Training Center) Core 101 program and has taught public defenders all over the country as an apprentice member of the Gideon’s Promise faculty.  She likes cooking, reading, and following other people’s dogs on social media.

Georgia Sims on Facebook

You’ll Learn About

  • What brought our guests to public defense?
  • What challenges has this pandemic brought to their jurisdictions?
  • With all these protests about racial injustice – What does it mean to be a public defender during this moment in time?

Gideon’s Promise: The Podcast can be found on SoundCloudApple PodcastsSpotifyYouTube and at the Gideon’s Promise Website.


Further Reading

Gideon’s Promise: A Public Defender Movement to Transform Criminal Justice (2020) by Jonathan Rapping (Pre-order).