News Release

Champion of Justice awards presented to Bianca Jagger and PBS Frontline producer Ofra Bikel

New York, NY (November 4, 2000) -- The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers presented two Champion of Justice awards during its fall meeting in New York this past weekend.

Bianca Jagger received a Champion of Justice award in the Civic/Humanitarian category for her work as a steadfast and eloquent advocate for elimination of the death penalty in America.

Among her other human rights interests, Jagger has worked tirelessly in individual cases and against death penalty policy in the United States. She was instrumental in achieving clemency for Guinevere Garcia, for which she received the "Abolitionist of the Year Award" from the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

She led the opposition this past year to the executions of Karla Faye Tucker and Gary Graham, providing support and speaking out forcefully against the fundamental unfairness, inhumanity, and immorality of their sentences.

Jagger has also received awards from Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union for her tireless advocacy on behalf of civil and human rights. She currently serves on the Executive Director's Leadership Council for Amnesty International, and on the board of directors for People for the American Way.

Documentary filmmaker Ofra Bikel has produced numerous penetrating and highly-acclaimed criminal justice documentaries in collaboration with PBS Frontline. She received a Champion of Justice award in the Journalism category.

Her series of programs on charges of sexual abuse at a daycare center in Edenton, North Carolina is credited as the key factor in the dismissal of more than 90 counts against multiple defendants, and won almost every major award in broadcast journalism. Awards for "Innocence Lost" and its two follow-ups include an Emmy, two duPont-Columbia Silver Batons, and both Grand Prize and Best of Category at the prestigious Banff International Television Festival.

Among Bikel's other PBS films are "Snitch," which deals with misuse of informants and "testilying" by prosecutors, and "The Case for Innocence," which examines post-conviction DNA testing, and the unwillingness of many prosecutors to accept exonerating DNA test results, preferring instead to conjure up new case theories, such as additional perpetrators. 

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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.