ABA Silver Gavel Awards Honor Media and the Arts Covering Legal Topics

CHICAGO, June 25, 2010 –“Presumed Guilty,” The Lincoln Journal Star newspaper series that tells “the story behind the headlines of the greatest miscarriage of justice in Nebraska’s modern legal history” is among five Silver Gavels to be presented by the _.

ABA President B. Lamm will present the awards at 5 p.m. July 7 at the National Press Club, Ballroom, 13th Floor, 529 14th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. Lamm offers, “Congratulations to each of the 2010 Gavel Award winners for their outstanding work. We honor them for their dedicated efforts to enhance the American public’s understanding of law, legal issues and legal institutions.”

The featured speaker at the event is Daniel Zwerdling, national correspondent, National Public Radio. His acclaimed investigative and documentary reports appear on all of NPR’s major news shows.

“Presumed Guilty” tells a riveting story of six people who spent a total of 70 years in prison for a crime they did not commit, the rape and murder of an elderly Beatrice, Nebraska woman. Justice ultimately prevailed, but not until nearly 20 years later, when those convicted were exonerated by DNA evidence.  Lincoln Journal Star reporter Joe Duggan comments on the ABA’s recognition for the series, “I’m pleased because the award pays honor to what is truly a remarkable legal case, not just in Nebraska but nationally.”

Also receiving 2010 Silver Gavels are:

  • “Trial by Fire: Did Texas execute an innocent man?” by staff writer David Grann, The New Yorker (Magazine category);
  • “California’s Three Strikes Law: 15 Years of Controversy,” a three-part series airing on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered (Radio category);
  • “Juvenile Rehabilitation,” an ABC News Primetime: Crime program that goes inside Missouri’s innovative juvenile justice system (Television category);
  • SCOTUSblog, a comprehensive blog covering the Supreme Court of the United States (Website category);

In addition, two books and one documentary are receiving Honorable Mention citations:

  • Equal: Women Reshape American Law by Fred Strebeigh (W.W. Norton) and
  • Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice by Alexandra Natapoff (New York University Press)
  • The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court, produced by Skylight Pictures.

See the ABA Division for Public Education website for further information on this year’s award winners, prior winners back to 1958, and how to register for the awards presentation event.

Eligible award categories include books, newspapers, magazines, commentary, documentaries, drama and literature, radio, television, and websites. The Silver Gavel Award is the ABA’s highest honor in recognition of this purpose and no more than one Silver Gavel is presented in each category.  In addition, Honorable Mention citations may also be presented. The Gavel Awards are highly selective—this year the ABA is presenting five Gavels and three Honorable Mentions among nearly 160 entries received in all eligible categories.

With nearly 400,000 members, the _ is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world.  As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

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Editor’s Note: For images of the following, please click on their respective links: ABA President Carolyn Lamm, Daniel Zwerdling, Peter Salter, Joe Duggan, Cathie Huddle, Lincoln Journal Star flag.



Trial by Fire
The New Yorker
New York, New York
David Grann, Staff Writer


Presumed Guilty: The Story Behind the Headlines of the Greatest Miscarriage of Justice in Nebraska’s Modern Legal History
The Lincoln Journal Star
Lincoln, Nebraska
Michael Nelson, Editor
Peter Salter, City Editor
Catharine Huddle, Assistant City Editor
Joe Duggan, Reporter
Katie Nieland, Online Presentation Editor


California’s Three Strikes Law: 15 Years of Controversy
National Public Radio
Washington, DC
Ina Jaffe, Correspondent
Amy Walters, Producer
Philip Bruce, Editor


Juvenile Rehabilitation
ABC News Primetime
New York, New York
Joseph Diaz, Anna Sims-Phillips and Jon Meyersohn, Producers
Chris Cuomo, Correspondent


Washington, DC
Tom Goldstein, Publisher
Amy Howe, Editor
Erin Miller, Manager



Equal: Women Reshape American Law
W.W. Norton & Company
New York, New York
Fred Strebeigh, Author

Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice
New York University Press
New York, New York
Alexandra Natapoff, Author


The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court
Skylight Pictures
New York, New York
Pamela Yates, Director
Peter Kinoy, Executive Editor
Paco De Onis, Producer; Dara Kell, Editor
Melle Van Essen, Cinematographer

Learn More About:  Annual Meeting 2010Lamm, Carolyn