March 10, 2017

ABA announces finalists for 2017 Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2017 —The American Bar Association today announced the 19 finalists for the 2017 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.

“The ABA’s Gavel Awards Screening Committee members were challenged to select finalists among so many worthy entries,” said Stephen C. Edds, chair of the Standing Committee on Gavel Awards. “We congratulate our finalists and look forward to identifying awardees among an already select group.”

The winners will be announced on May 10. 

No more than one Silver Gavel is presented in each category. Honorable mentions are also awarded, but awards are not presented in every category in every year.

The ABA Gavel Awards Screening Committee, composed of 45 lawyer-members of the ABA, selected the 19 finalists from 156 entries received in all eligible categories, which include books, commentary, documentaries, drama and literature, magazines, multimedia, newspapers, radio and television.

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 association has presented these awards each year since 1958, which makes 2017 the 60th annual presentation. The 18-member ABA Standing Committee on Gavel Awards makes the final award decisions. ABA President Linda Klein will present Silver Gavels and Honorable Mentions on July 18 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. 

To learn more about the Silver Gavel Awards, go to

The following is a complete list of finalists, with links to their work:


“Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy”
Heather Ann Thompson, author|
Penguin Random House/Pantheon Books

“Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City”
Matthew Desmond, author
Penguin Random House/Crown Publishers

“The Framers’ Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution”
Michael Klarman, author
Oxford University Press

“Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck”
Adam Cohen, author
Penguin Random House/Penguin Books

“Vagrant Nation: Police Power, Constitutional Change, and the Making of the 1960s”
Risa Goluboff, author
Oxford University Press


“It’s Been 40 Years Since the Supreme Court Tried to Fix the Death Penalty — Here’s How It Failed”
The Marshall Project
Evan Mandery, professor
John Jay College of Criminal Justice


“Admissions on Trial: Seven Decades of Race and Higher Education”
Villita Media for KLRU-TV
Lynn Boswell, producer, director and writer
Paul Sweeney, Editor

“Do Not Resist”
Craig Atkinson, director
Laura Hartrick, producer

Trilogy Films
Dawn Porter, director
Marilyn Ness, producer


“Where the Death Penalty Still Lives”
New York Times Magazine
Emily Bazelon, staff writer
Ilena Silverman, features editor


“Doubled Up In Solitary Confinement”
National Public Radio and
The Marshall Project
Joseph Shapiro, correspondent, NPR
Christie Thompson, staff writer, The Marshall Project
Ruth Baldwin, director of communications, The Marshall Project
Robert Little, senior supervising editor, Investigations, NPR


“A Cry for Help”
Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN)
Jennifer Bjorhus and Kelly Smith, reporters
Jeff Hargarten, Interactive data journalist
MaryJo Webster, Data editor
Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Visual journalist

“Forsaken: Florida’s Broken Mental Health System”
Sun Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
Dana Banker, managing editor
Megan O’Matz, Sally Kestin and Stephen Hobbs, reporters
John Maines, database editor

“No Money, No Mercy”
The New York Times
Andrew Lehren and Shaila Dewan, reporters
Christine Kay, enterprise editor
Scott Blumenthal, deputy editor, Interactive News


"...and justice for all."
Alabama Public Radio
Pat Duggins, news director
Stan Ingold, assistant news director
Alex AuBuchon and Mackenzie Bates, news hosts/reporters

“More Perfect”
WNYC Studios
Jad Abumrad, executive producer, host, creator
Suzie Lechtenberg, executive producer
Kelsey Padgett, producer, reporter
Sean Rameswaram, correspondent
Tobin Low, producer

“This Land Is Our Land”
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Anna Griffin, news director
David Blanchard, producer

“The Border”
FOX5 Las Vegas
Christine Maddela, news anchor

“48 Hours: The Fight for Melissa”
48 Hours/CBS News
Erin Moriarty, Correspondent
Lourdes Aguiar, Gail Abbott Zimmerman and Charlotte Fuller, producers
Judy Tygard, senior producer

With more than 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 on line. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.