New York County Lawyers’ Association Premieres Film on Landmark Supreme Court Case Featuring Martin Sheen

Arnold & Porter LLP Sponsors Event to Commemorate Gideon v Wainwright Right to Counsel Case

New York, NY – February 28, 2013 – On Monday, March 18 at 5:30 p.m., the New York County Lawyers’ Association (NYCLA) and Arnold & Porter LLP will host an event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark right-to-counsel decision in Gideon v. Wainwright. The program will begin with a premiere of the 30-minute film Defending Gideon narrated by actor Martin Sheen of West Wing, followed by a discussion on the current state of indigent defense by a panel of federal and state prosecutors and defenders. Attendees will hear what the landmark decision did or did not do for people accused of a crime and learn what needs to happen to fulfill the promise of Gideon. “March 18th will mark 50 years since the landmark Supreme Court decision that guaranteed indigent defendants the right to counsel regardless of ability to pay,” says Stewart D. Aaron, New York County Lawyers’ Association President and Managing Partner of Arnold & Porter’s New York office. “On this special anniversary, NYCLA and Arnold & Porter LLP are coming together to celebrate how far the criminal justice system has come as a result of this landmark decision and to identify what we need to do to continue moving forward to address indigent criminal justice rights.”

 

Produced by The Constitution Project, with financial support from Ford Foundation, Public Welfare Foundation, Arnold & Porter Foundation, and other sponsors, Defending Gideon will take viewers on a journey starting with the buildup to the long-awaited 1963 game-changing criminal defendants’ rights case and continuing through the present day, while examining the challenges still facing the indigent defendant in the state and federal criminal justice systems.

 

The film features interviews with many individuals who were directly involved with the Gideon appeal, including retired Arnold & Porter partner Abe Krash, who worked with the firm’s co-founder Abe Fortas on the persuasive legal brief filed on behalf of Clarence Earl Gideon. Mr. Fortas also argued the case before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Also highlighted will be the key roles played by Bruce Jacob, who represented Florida in the litigation but who is now a leading advocate for reform; Walter Mondale, who, as Minnesota Attorney General at the time, organized an amicus brief from state attorneys general supporting Mr. Gideon’s appeal; and Anthony Lewis, the long-time New York Times columnist and author of the acclaimed book Gideon’s Trumpet.

 

A panel discussion moderated by Peter L. Zimroth, Partner, Arnold & Porter LLP, and former Corporation Counsel of the City of New York, will discuss the film and the case. Panelists include Zachary W. Carter, Partner, Dorsey & Whitney LLP and former United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Catherine A. Christian, Counsel to the Trial Division and Chief, Alternative Sentencing Division, Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor and past NYCLA President; Seymour W. James Jr., Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Practice of The Legal Aid Society and President of the New York State Bar Association; and David E. Patton, Executive Director and Attorney-in-Chief, Federal Defenders of New York.

About the New York County Lawyers’ Association

The New York County Lawyers' Association (www.nycla.org) was founded in 1908 as the first major bar association in the country that admitted members without regard to race, ethnicity, religion or gender. Since its inception, it has pioneered some of the most far-reaching and tangible reforms in American jurisprudence and has continuously played an active role in legal developments and public policy.

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The New York County Lawyers' Association (www.nycla.org) was founded in 1908 as the first major bar association in the country that admitted members without regard to race, ethnicity, religion or gender. Since its inception, it has pioneered some of the most far-reaching and tangible reforms in American jurisprudence and has continuously played an active role in legal developments and public policy.

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Quick facts

March 18, 2013 is the 50th anniversary of the landmark decision in the case Gideon v. Wainwright
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On March 18 the New York County Lawyers' Association and Arnold & Porter will premiere the film Defending Gideon featuring Martin Sheen
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50 years ago criminal defendants were given a right to counsel as a result of Gideon v. Wainright. Celebrate with NYCLA and Arnold & Porter on the anniversary!
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