Washington, DC (Feb. 22, 2016) – On Friday, February 19, 2016, at its midwinter seminar and meeting in Austin, Texas, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) presented Washington Post journalist, investigative reporter, and blogger Radley Balko with its Champion of Justice Journalism Award.
NACDL's Champion of Justice Awards are bestowed upon those individuals who—through legal legislative, journalistic, or humanitarian pursuits—have staunchly preserved or defended the constitutional rights of American citizens and have endeavored to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime. Past recipients of the journalism award include the late Anthony Lewis, author of Gideon's Trumpet and columnist at the New York Times; Steve Kroft from CBS's 60 Minutes; Ofra Bikel from PBS's Frontline; and other leaders in the field of journalism.
"There are few people focused so effectively on exposing the underside of the American criminal justice system," said NACDL President E.G. "Gerry" Morris. "He is tireless, he is prolific, and he is quite clearly motivated by a profound concern for justice, fairness, and liberty. For all of these reasons and more, I selected Radley Balko to receive the first NACDL Champion of Justice Journalism Award presented since 2009."
Upon receiving the award, Mr. Balko said "No one is in a better position to see the flaws, biases, and inadequacies of our criminal justice system than a criminal defense attorney. They deal with this stuff on a daily basis. I just try to shine a light on it. So to receive this award from NACDL is incredibly flattering and rewarding."
Mr. Balko is an award-winning investigative journalist who writes about civil liberties, police, prosecutors, and the broader criminal justice system. Currently, he writes about criminal justice, the drug war, and civil liberties for The Washington Post. Previously, he was a senior writer and investigative reporter for the Huffington Post, senior editor for Reason magazine, and a policy analyst for the Cato Institute.
Mr. Balko's reporting has been credited with helping Mississippi murder convict Cory Maye get off of death row, and eventually released from prison. His reporting also helped lead to the termination of longtime Mississippi medical examiner Steven Hayne. His 2009 feature on forensics fraud in a Louisiana murder case won the Western Publication Association's "Maggie Award" for reporting. In 2011, he was named the L.A. Press Club's Journalist of the Year. And in 2015, he won the Innocence Project's Journalism Award for his coverage of forensic misconduct.
In his groundbreaking 2013 book Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces, Mr. Balko brought the issue of police militarization to the national conversation before Ferguson, Missouri burst into the headlines nationwide.
To see past recipients of NACDL's Champion of Justice Award, please visit http://www.nacdl.org/awards/championofjustice/.
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Mr. Balko's extensive reporting at the Washington Post is available at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/.
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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 justice system.