June 01, 2013

Project to Recognize Volunteer Attorneys at Awards Event in Washington, D.C.

Kaitlin Sandin


The Project is pleased to announce the winners of the 2013 Exceptional Service Award: Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, Carrington Coleman Sloman & Blumenthal LLP, and Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons LLP. The winner of the 2013 John Paul Stevens Guiding Hand of Counsel Award is capital defender Denny LeBoeuf.

Carrington Coleman and Rothgerber will jointly receive the Exceptional Service Award for their work on behalf of Texas death row prisoner Manuel Velez, who was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death in 2005 for killing his girlfriend’s infant child. After five years of painstaking work, a court heard for the first time evidence that the head injuries suffered by the child were inflicted while Mr. Velez was living in a different state, and in April 2013, Mr. Velez won a new trial. The two firms continue to represent Mr. Velez in the hope of securing a full exoneration.

Morgan Lewis will receive the Exceptional Service Award in recognition of its more than 25 years of pro bono death penalty work. The firm has achieved noteworthy outcomes in several death penalty cases, including the exoneration of one client, the commutation of one client’s death sentence to a life sentence, a new sentencing hearing for a third client, and a new trial for a fourth client. Morgan Lewis remains deeply committed to pro bono capital representation and currently has four active cases.

Longtime capital defender Denny LeBoeuf will receive the 2013 John Paul Stevens Guiding Hand of Counsel Award in recognition of her life-long commitment to justice for death row prisoners across the country. Ms. LeBoeuf has spent over 20 years working on capital cases. She was an instrumental member of the defense team that secured freedom last October for Louisiana death row exoneree Damon Thibodeaux. Mr. Thibodeaux will be a featured speaker at the event along with his volunteer counsel, Steve Kaplan of Fredrikson & Byron.

This year’s Volunteer Recognition & Awards Event will be held in the evening on September 26, 2013, at the Decatur House in Washington, D.C. 

Kaitlin Sandin