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NBA All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns Joins Ben Proudfoot’s Short Film ‘Forgiving Johnny’ As Exec Producer

Publicis Sapient have launched short film Forgiving Johnny, which is a firsthand account of forgiveness and the life-changing impact that digitization within the justice system had on an individual. The short film was created by director Ben Proudfoot and his company, Breakwater Studios with NBA all-star Karl-Anthony Towns

The pic highlights the positive impact of digital business transformation on the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office (LACPDO) and the residents of LA by following the journey of LACPDO public defender Noah Cox and the case of his client, Johnny, an individual with developmental disabilities who faced a 20-year prison sentence after an altercation with his brother-in law. Cox was able to digitally access the documentation he needed quickly through a cutting-edge client case management system (CCMS), created by LACPDO and Publicis Sapient, to seek diversion and treatment for Johnny rather than incarceration. The film shows how digital and technology aided Cox in navigating the complex legal and archival system, making a material impact in the outcome of Johnny’s case.

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“As a purpose-driven organization with a decades-long history of transforming established businesses and government institutions, we’ve always believed in the power of digital to create positive impact in the world. Our collaboration with the LA County Public Defender’s Office stands out because of the powerful human impact. It transcends operational efficiency by creating more effective public defenders, measurably reducing unjust incarceration and the collateral consequences of contact with the criminal justice system,” said Nigel Vaz, CEO of Publicis Sapient.

The film is now available to general audiences across TIME’s online video platforms. Publicis Sapient is launching a multifaceted campaign featuring support from Towns. Social impact pioneer Meredith Blake is also Executive Producer of ‘Forgiving Johnny.

“I am very committed to the advancement of equality and social justice and ‘Forgiving Johnny’ is a film that touches on many issues that I care about,” said three-time NBA All-Star and social justice advocate Karl-Anthony Towns, who serves as Executive Producer of ‘Forgiving Johnny.’ “I am honored to help bring more awareness to Johnny and Noah’s journey and to make changes to level the playing field.”

Prior to the development of the CCMS, the over 100,000 cases that are assigned to public defenders each year were tracked manually, mostly on paper. Now, all current and past cases are assigned, managed and tracked digitally via the CCMS, including more than 160 million court records which are now accessible through the CCMS. This digital solution has transformed and accelerated the way LACPDO public defenders can access critical information, aiding the LACPDO in its effort to measurably reduce incarceration, mitigate the collateral consequences of contact with the criminal justice system, and, ultimately, change lives for the better.

“Our attorneys are now receiving client information digitally often before the proceedings. They’re able to get a head start looking at the case, which has allowed our attorneys to more effectively counsel clients,” said Ricardo Garcia, LA County Public Defender. “We’re shifting the narrative from a case-centric to a people-centric view, which has enabled us to objectively illustrate the benefits of holistic representation, diversion and alternatives to incarceration models and the tangible benefits of decarceration.”

Publicis Sapient is collaborating with the National Association for Public Defense to bring attention to the important work of public defenders and the challenges they face in their work.

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