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In 1997, Ricky Kidd was sentenced to life without parole for a double homicide he says he didn’t commit. And, he argues, 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 the crisis that is overwhelming Missouri’s public defender system and what it means for serving justice in America.
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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,…
By Vika Aronson, Amna Nawaz, Frank Carlson, Emily Carpeaux, Erica R. Hendry
After 23 years behind bars, and a crushing defeat in 2009, Ricky Kidd finally gets a new day in court. Plus, we take a look inside a new St. Louis County prosecutor’s campaign to uproot the process that fuels the…
By Amna Nawaz, Frank Carlson, Vika Aronson, Emily Carpeaux, Erica R. Hendry
The most common tool used to attack problems in public defender systems is the class action lawsuit. But what if there’s a better strategy? Steve Hanlon, a longtime advocate for systemic legal reform, has a big idea about big data.
By Vika Aronson, Frank Carlson, Amna Nawaz, Erica R. Hendry, Emily Carpeaux
The American justice system is based around the idea that you can get to the truth when two opposing sides make their cases in court. But what happens if your defense attorney is so overloaded they can’t handle the case…
By Vika Aronson, Frank Carlson, Amna Nawaz, Emily Carpeaux, Erica R. Hendry
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…
By Vika Aronson, Frank Carlson, Emily Carpeaux, Erica R. Hendry, Amna Nawaz
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…
Ricky Kidd is finally free -- thanks to his pro bono legal team, led by law professor Sean O’Brien. In this bonus episode, Ricky and Sean tell us about adjusting to life after prison and we talk through some loose…
By Amna Nawaz, Frank Carlson, Vika Aronson, Erica R. Hendry, Emily Carpeaux
Much of what we’ve heard about the coronavirus is from major cities like New York. But what’s happening to hospitals in rural America, where there are more high-risk patients, fewer resources and a smaller safety net — if there is…
By Vika Aronson, William Brangham, Erica R. Hendry, Gretchen Frazee, Emily Carpeaux
It's been about a year since Ricky Kidd was exonerated of charges for a 1996 double homicide he didn't commit. As he's set out to build a new life after 23 years in prison, the world has also changed around…
By Frank Carlson, Vika Aronson, Erica R. Hendry, Emily Carpeaux
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