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American Bar Association announces 2013 Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts

American Bar Association announces 2013 Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts

By Matthew (Matt) Stegen

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 15, 2013 — The American Bar Association announced today its selections for the 2013 Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts, which recognize outstanding work that fosters the American public’s understanding of law and the legal system. This is the ABA’s highest honor in recognition of this purpose, and no more than one Silver Gavel is presented in each category.

A book about the laws of war in American history, a documentary telling the story of five Harlem teenagers falsely convicted of rape, a newspaper series about lax oversight of Michigan probationers and parolees, and a television program on voting in America all received the top honor.

The awards presentation will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. July 23 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.  ABA President Laurel G. Bellows will present the Gavel Awards to honorees.

The ABA presents four Silver Gavels and four Honorable Mentions from nearly 150 entries received in all eligible categories: books, commentary, documentaries, drama and literature, magazines, newspapers, radio, television and other media.

Selection criteria include: how the entry addresses the Gavel Awards’ purpose and objectives; educational value of legal information; impact on, or outreach to, the public; thoroughness and accuracy in presentation of issues; creativity and originality in approach to subject matter and effectiveness of presentation; and demonstrated technical skill in the entry’s production.

“The ABA engages in quite a rigorous review process for the Silver Gavel Awards,” said Cory M. Amron, the Gavel Awards committee chair. “We congratulate this year’s awardees for their truly exceptional efforts to further public understanding of legal issues.”
The association has presented these awards annually since 1958. The 18-member ABA Standing Committee on Gavel Awards makes final award decisions.

To learn more about the Silver Gavel Awards, go to

The following is a complete list of Silver Gavels and Honorable Mentions.



Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History
John Fabian Witt, Author
Simon & Schuster/Free Press’s-Code/John-Fabian-Witt/9781416569831


The Central Park Five
Florentine Films
Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon, Directors/Writers/Producers
Michael Levine, Editor
Stephanie Jackson, Production Coordinator


Lax Controls Leave Ex-Cons Free to Kill
Detroit Free Press
L.L. Brasier and Gina Damron, Co-Authors and Staff Writers
Amalie Nash, Assistant Managing Editor
Andre J. Jackson, Staff Photographer
Elisha Anderson, Contributor and Staff Writer


Electoral Dysfunction
Trio Pictures in association with WTTW National Productions
David Deschamps, Leslie D. Farrell and Bennett Singer, Producers/Writers/Directors
Mo Rocca, Host
Jay Keuper, Editor
Joe Friedman, Cinematographer



Stand Up That Mountain: The Battle to Save One Small Community in the Wilderness Along the Appalachian Trail
Jay Leutze, Author
Simon & Schuster/Scribner


West of Memphis
Sony Pictures Classics
Amy Berg, Director/Producer
Damien Echols, Lorri Davis, Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, Producers


Loss of Trust
San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News
Karen de Sá, Staff Reporter
Dai Sugano and Pat Tehan, Photojournalists


The Real CSI
Frontline (WGBH Boston), ProPublica and the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley
Lowell Bergman, Correspondent, Producer and Writer for Frontline
Andres Cediel, Producer and Writer
Leah Bartos, Reporter for ProPublica
Raney Aronson-Rath, Series Senior Producer
David Fanning, Executive Producer

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations 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. To review our privacy statement, click here. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.

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