May 14, 2014

American Bar Association announces 2014 Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts

WASHINGTON, May 14, 2014 — The American Bar Association announced today its selections for the 2014 Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts, which recognize outstanding work in media and the arts 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.

The winners are:

  • “The Terror Courts: Rough Justice at Guantanamo Bay,” a book that goes inside the Pentagon’s prosecution team to probe the post-9/11military-commission system
  • “An American Gulag,” commentary about the treatment of mentally ill inmates
  • “Gideon’s Army,” a documentary that tells the story of three young public defenders on a quest for “justice for all”
  • “Twice Betrayed,” a newspaper series about victims of sexual assault in the military
  • “Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl,” a radio program about a 3-year-old girl entangled in a custody case before the Supreme Court
  • “The Invisible War,” a TV documentary about the “epidemic” of rape in the U.S. military

The awards ceremony will take place from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. July 22 in Washington, D.C. ABA President James R. Silkenat will present the Silver Gavel Awards to honorees.

The ABA will present six Silver Gavels and three Honorable Mentions from 169 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.

“Selecting the 2014 Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts is the result of an intensive review by the American Bar Association,” said Cory M. Amron, chair of the Gavel Awards committee. “We congratulate this year’s awardees for their exceptional work to advance public understanding of the law.” 

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 Gavel winners and honorable mentions.

“The Terror Courts: Rough Justice at Guantanamo Bay”
Jess Bravin, Author
Yale University Press

Honorable Mention
“A Wild Justice: The Death and Resurrection of Capital Punishment in America”
Evan J. Mandery, Author
W.W. Norton & Company Inc.

“An American Gulag”
The Atlantic
Andrew Cohen, Writer
Jennie Rothenberg Gritz and Heather Hom, Editors

“Gideon’s Army”
Trilogy Films
Dawn Porter, Director/Producer
Julie Goldman, Producer
Matthew Hamachek, Editor

“Twice Betrayed”
San Antonio (Texas) Express-News
David Sheppard, Projects Editor
Karisa King and Sig Christenson, Reporters
Lisa Krantz, Photographer
Jose Luis Rios, Director of Photography

Honorable Mention
“Reinvestigating Rape: Old Evidence, New Answers”
The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
Debra Adams Simmons, Editor
Rachel Dissell and Leila Atassi, Reporters

“Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl”
Jad Abumrad, Host/Editor
Robert Krulwich, Host
Tim Howard, Producer

“The Invisible War”
Chain Camera Pictures
Kirby Dick, Director
Tanner Barklow and Amy Ziering, Producers

Honorable Mention
“Constitution USA with Peter Sagal”
Twin Cities Public Television
Stephen Ives, Director
Amanda Pollak, Producer
Catherine Allan, Executive Producer
Jaime Bernanke, Co-Writer
Peter Sagal, Host

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. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.