You Have The Right To An Attorney
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO AN ATTORNEY profiles a team of colleagues from a public defense office in the South Bronx, as they build and argue cases for a select few clients from their roster of thousands.
The public defender is bright and idealistic. He is also jaded and overworked. He could be making three times his current salary at a corporate law firm in midtown, and his commute would be half as long. He wants to win. He wants to do what's right. Can he always do both?
The client is confused and scared. He is also angry and uncooperative. Every day he spends in court is a day he doesn't earn a living, a day he can't support his family. He did it. He didn't do it. Does that even matter?
A typical case file for a public defender ranges from petty vandalism to manslaughter, and the clients span all levels of guilt and innocence. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO AN ATTORNEY focuses on the complex relationship between client, attorney, and the law. Because for every defendant who is wrongfully accused, there is another who is truly in the wrong, and it is the duty of the public defender to honor his client's right to a fair trial.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO AN ATTORNEY is not about guilt or innocence, but rather, it offers a portrait of complicated characters whose actions may sometimes conflict with their own moral instincts and a study of the judicial system whose consequences reach far beyond the bang of the gavel.