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On our first episode of season 2, we talk about one of the most important players in the criminal justice system – the public defender. What does it mean to be a public defender in America? Why do we have the right to counsel? And why is it important that all people have access to a zealous advocate, even those who may be guilty of serious crimes? We discuss all of this on this week’s episode.

We also talk to Jon Rapping, the founder and President of Gideon’s Promise and a leader in the field of public defense. He and his wife started Gideon’s Promise with the goal of providing training, resources, and community for public defenders across the nation. The organization was the subject of the 2013 HBO documentary Gideon’s Promise, and Jon received the MacArthur Genius Grant in 2014. He talks to us about why he began this organization, the continued challenges, and the fundamental importance of public defenders in the lives of their clients.

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