A public defender's legal advice: "Don't talk to the police"

Published January 22, 2013 7:56 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As a public defender in Georgia, Travis Williams is used to giving free legal advice.

Williams gave some more to an audience at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, where a documentary in which he is featured, "Gideon's Army," debuted Monday.

In the post-screening Q-and-A, Williams noted that he starts at a deficit when dealing with his poor clients. Most of them have been sitting in jail for weeks or months, unable to post bail. Also, most of them have cooperated with police — allowing a search of their home or car, or telling "some version of the truth" — in the vain hope that it will get them freed.

"This is a message to everyone: one, don't talk to the police, and two, never say 'yes' to a search," Williams said. "Make them get the dogs."

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