Concerts for Indigent Defense engages public support for the constitutional right to counsel through live music.



2024 Concerts for Indigent Defense include:


In March 2024, musicians across the county are once again presenting “Concerts for Indigent Defense” to energize advocates, build power for reform, and educate the public about the critical importance – and consistent neglect – of poor people’s constitutional right to an effective criminal defense lawyer, by celebrating the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Gideon v. Wainwright.

Concerts for Indigent Defense provide everyone with an important opportunity to remind our communities, courts, and policymakers about this essential element of the possibility of justice dispensed by our criminal courts.

In 2023, we celebrated the 60th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright
with these 14 events across 10 states

Houston, TX

Gideon @ 60: Jazz & Perspective on Public Justice in Houston

Houston Jazz Spotlight

Wednesday 3/15/23, 6-8pm CT @

KPFT 90.1

New Orleans, LA

Concert for Indigent Defense

Stooges Brass Band

8pm CT @

John Thompson Legacy Center, New Orleans


Texas Tribune Presents: A Deeper Look at Public Defense in Texas

Criminal Justice for Poor People in Texas: Looking Back, Looking Forward (Session)

Friday, 3/17/23, 9am CT @

Texas Capitol Auditorium

Houston, TX

Concert for Indigent Defense

Son Rompe Pera

Saturday, 3/18/23, 7pm CT @


New Orleans, LA

Concert for Indigent Defense

Lawrence, KS

Gideon at 60: Concert for Public Defense

BongoTini, Possum Boy, Frydman & Harris

Saturday 3/18/23, 6-9pm, doors 5:30 @

White Schoolhouse

Bridgeport, CT

Concert for Indigent Defense

Lexington, KY

Improv for Indigent Defense

Central Kentucky Improv Ensemble

Saturday 3/18/23, 7:00 PM @


Denver, CO

Concert for Indigent Defense: 60th Anniversary of Gideon v Wainwright

Mad Dog Blues, Jeff Jiper

Saturday 3/18/23, 7:00 PM @
The Monkey Barrel

Brooklyn, NY

Concerts for Indigent Defense & Gideon at 60 in Brooklyn

Good Morning Nueva York

Monday 3/13/23, 6-7am ET @

WBAI Radio

Phoenix, AZ

Celebrating Gideon With Music and Friends

The Quinn Jolly Band

Friday 3/17/23, 7:00 PM @

The Walter Dome

Fredericksburg, VA

Concert For Indigent Defense and Silent Auction

3 Exits to Memphis

Sunday 3/18/23, 2-5 pm @

Strangeways Brewing

Sante Fe, NM

Recognizing Gideon Day: Gideon at 60

JJ and the Hooligans

Thursday 3/17/23, 8-11 p.m. MT @

The Cowgirl

New Orleans, LA

Concerts for Indigent Defense, 2023 Video

Watch Video

John Moore 

Wonderland Production Studio

Our Mission:

Supporting the constitutional right to counsel for everyone in America

Concerts for Indigent Defense unites us in respect for the Constitution. It provides a platform for us all to come together, to call for – and strengthen – respect for this constitutional right.

Because if the criminal process starts with disrespect for the Constitution, what can we say about criminal justice in America?

Original co-producer and eternal spirit behind Concerts for Indigent Defense, John Thompson, Founder of Resurrection After Exoneration and so much more…
Concerts for Indigent Defense video montage celebrating the 59th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously established the constitutional right to counsel in 1963’s Gideon v. Wainwright decision because accused persons cannot properly present their court case in ways that would enable judges to dispense justice.

Yet while this fundamental right is strongly supported by the public nationwide, indigent defense is underfunded and under-resourced in states across the country. When poor people cannot meaningfully defend themselves against a prosecutor’s charges, criminal courts cannot properly dispense justice.

As a result, people are often unjustly incarcerated and separated from their families, jobs, and ability to pay their bills – and innocent people are wrongfully convicted – just because they are poor. The harms reverberate and compound throughout each impacted person’s life – as well as that of their family and community. This is not justice, but injustice. This constitutional right is so regularly neglected because most people are unaware of these unjust realities, and presume this constitutional right is enforced for all.

Concerts for Indigent Defense leverages Gideon’s anniversary by providing defenders, musicians, and justice advocates across the country with an extraordinary opportunity to help the public understand this problem – and build public and political support for the constitutional right to counsel.

Concerts for Indigent Defense are intended as attention-raisers, like Earth Day or wearing a ribbon or armband in support of an issue. They are rallying points that draw public, media, and policymaker attention to the constitutional right central to whether or not criminal courts dispense justice. When musicians designate their shows as a “Concert for Indigent Defense,” they enable local defenders and other justice advocates – across the country – to educate the public about this neglected constitutional right and its impacts; energize their supporters, and gain traction for improvements in their courtrooms, legislatures, and budgets.

As such, Concerts for Indigent Defense are intended as attentionraisers. The money flows as it would for any other concert. In some cases they might also serve as fundraisers as well, but the scale of neglect for this fundamental right is so large that only governments can properly address the underlying concern.

Idea, logistical challenges, launch, re-launch, pandemic, video, 60th. It grew at every step.

The initial concept of Concerts for Indigent Defense was in development for over a decade when the initial Concerts for Indigent Defense: New  Orleans, was successfully presented in 2017. Co-produced by death row exoneree John Thompson, in coordination with the Orleans Public Defender, the celebration earned major television, radio, print and social media coverage. The demo proved successful, and we were planning nationwide rollout in 2018, in coordination with the National Association for Public Defense and others, when Mr. Thompson died later that year. With the loss of our friend and partner, the effort was paused.

On March 18, 2022, Concerts for Indigent Defense celebrated the 59th anniversary of Gideon nationwide, presenting a video montage of defender perspectives and music on the website (see above). The celebration was enthusiastically received by the defender community in states across the country and served as a kickoff to the live concerts we presented to celebrate Gideon’s 60th anniversary, featuring the livestreamed show of Walter Wolfman Washington at d.b.a. New Orleans and joined by concerts in 10 states across the country in March, 2023. The momentum from the Gideon’s 60th celebrations have already lifted themselves up Concerts for Indigent Defense in Houston, Boston, Brooklyn, and Bridgeport, CT for 2024.

Local, county, and state public defenders and other criminal justice organizations often have the most accessible information about how indigent defense is provided in their jurisdictions. You can find your local public defense providers through an internet search, or by contacting the appropriate judicial branch in your jurisdiction.

In addition, at the nationwide level, The National Association for Public Defense, which engages public defense professionals in America to address the systemic failure to provide the constitutional right to counsel, and to collaborate with diverse partners to bring meaningful access to justice for poor people.

The Sixth Amendment Center, which seeks to ensure that no person faces potential time in jail without fist having the aid of a lawyer with the time, ability, and resources to present an effective defense, as required under the United States Constitution.

Concerts for Indigent Defense are already developing in Houston, Brooklyn, Boston, and Bridgeport, CT for March, 2024, with more brewing….

Celebrate Gideon together this year, nationwide!

We invite you to join the musicians, public defenders, and others across the country in our annual nationwide celebration of the importance of the constitutional right to counsel; the people that make it real; and the important impacts it has on people, justice, and the country we live in.

Please sign up below to connect with us, and support this collective effort to present live Concerts for Indigent Defense in states across the country, to secure broad public and political for a very American concept: Fundamental justice for all in our criminal justice system, which starts with respect for the constitutional right to counsel.

Countdown To The Show

March 30, 2022 @ 10:00pm EST – Virtual Show at


Show may be cancelled due to weather, we will post more updates as we have them!