News Release

NACDL Presents Champion of Justice Restoration of Rights Award to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates

Washington, DC (Aug. 28, 2018) – On Thursday, Aug. 23, at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) Presidential Summit and State Criminal Justice Network Conference – Shattering the Shackles of Collateral Consequences – in Atlanta, Georgia, NACDL presented Champion of Justice Restoration of Rights Awards to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates.

In the morning, just before she delivered remarks to the conference attendees, NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer presented Yates with NACDL’s Champion of Justice Restoration of Rights Award. After acknowledging that there are many NACDL members who have had some tough battles with Yates and many others who did not find all of her policy initiatives to their liking, Reimer spoke at length about Yates’s achievements in the area of criminal justice reform, including in the re-entry and restoration of rights arenas.

“With her support and guidance the Department of Justice spoke out forcefully in support of the right to counsel in the states through statements of interest in systemic litigation and through direct support to the defense community,” Reimer said. “Yates steadfastly bolstered reentry efforts by supporting improved education and training opportunities, and other initiatives to, as she put it, ‘make sure that individuals who have paid their debt to society have the tools they need to be successful when they return to their communities.’”

Later that day, before Georgia Gov. Deal addressed the conference attendees, NACDL President Drew Findling presented Deal with NACDL’s Champion of Justice Restoration of Rights Award in recognition of the tremendous criminal justice reforms he has sought and implemented during his nearly eight years as governor of the State of Georgia, including in the areas of bail reform, problem-solving “accountability” courts, parole and probation, juvenile justice, re-entry, and the restoration of rights, among others.

“When Nathan Deal became Georgia governor, he put at the forefront criminal justice reform,” said NACDL President Drew Findling. “Under Governor Deal’s leadership, Georgia’s prison population has dropped dramatically, for the first time since 2002. Governor Deal has proven that mass incarceration is not the way we stop crime.”

Findling noted Governor Deal’s approach to fighting crime being rooted in improving education throughout the state. “Governor Deal has taken the position that you have to fight crime before it becomes crime by focusing on education. He is a national trendsetter on criminal justice reform.”

The remarks delivered by former Deputy U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal were covered by the Daily Report ( Links to those stories, respectively, are available here and here.

To learn more about NACDL’s extensive work in the areas of re-entry and restoration of rights, please visit

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Ivan Dominguez, NACDL Director of Public Affairs and Communications, (202) 465-7662 or 

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.