ABA announces finalists for the 2018 Silver Gavel Awards

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Silver Gavel

The ABA has announced 19 finalists for this year's ABA Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts, which recognize outstanding work in media and the arts that fosters the public’s understanding of law and the legal system.

A committee composed of 45 lawyer-members of the ABA selected the finalists from 166 entries received in all eligible categories.

“The ABA Gavel Awards Screening Committee had a very difficult task in selecting these finalists among so many qualified entries,” said Stephen C. Edds, chair of the Standing Committee on Gavel Awards. “We congratulate our finalists and look forward to choosing awardees among an already select group.”

The ABA Standing Committee on Gavel Awards, which consists of 18 members, will decide the winners and announce them May 23. No more than one Silver Gavel will be presented in each category. Honorable mentions are also awarded, but not in every category every year.

The final selections will be given to entries that best address the purpose of the Gavel Awards; display the most creativity, originality and technical skill; demonstrate the educational value of legal information; and that impact the public through effective and accurate presentations of issues.

The ABA has awarded Silver Gavels every year since 1958. ABA President Hilarie Bass will present the winners and honorable mentions at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on July 17.

Here is a full list of the finalists:


The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives by Jesse Eisinger; Simon & Schuster.

An American Sickness by Elizabeth Rosenthal; Penguin Random House.

In Praise of Litigation by Alexandra Lahav; Oxford University Press.

Habeas Corpus in Wartime: From the Tower of London to Guantanamo Bay by Amanda Tyler; Oxford University Press.

Not a Crime to be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America by Peter Edelman; The New Press.

Unwarranted: Policing without Permission by Barry Friedman; Farrar, Straus and Giroux.


They Call Us Monsters; BMP Films; Ben Lear, director; Sasha Alpert, producer

Birthright: A War Story; Tamarkin Productions; Civia Tamarkin, director, executive producer and co-writer; Luchina Fisher, co-executive producer and co-writer.

And Then They Came for Us; Ginzberg Productions; Abby Ginzberg, producer and co-director; Ken Schnieder, editor and co-director; Tatsu Aoki, composer; Richard Cahan, associate producer and photo historian.

man at desk

Photo of Connecticut attorney Michael Koskoff courtesy of Starlight Media and Open Road Films


Marshall; Chestnut Productions and Hudlin Entertainment; Open Road Films and Starlight Media; Michael Koskoff and Jacob Koskoff, writers; Reginald Hudlin, director and producer; Paula Wagner and Jonathan Sanger, producers.


Witness to Guantanamo; Peter Honigsberg, director and founder; John Symons, filmmaker; Eva Moss, creative director; Adriana Puente, director of development and engagement; Melissa Delzio, designer; Kira Cain, social media coordinator.


Secrecy Rules; Star Tribune (Minneapolis); and James Shiffer, reporter.

Death-Penalty Defense Drama at Guantanamo War Court; Miami Herald; Carol Rosenberg, military affairs reporter; Dave Wilson, senior editor.


Breakdown Season 6: A Jury of his Peers; The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Richard Halicks, senior editor; Kevin Riley; editor-in-chief; Bill Rankin, legal affairs writer; Pete Corson, audience specialist.

The Bookie, the Phone Booth, and the FBI; WNYC Studios New York Public Radio; Manoush Zomorodi, host and managing editor; Kat Aaron, senior producer; Jen Poyant, executive producer.

Null and Void; Radiolab at WNYC; Maria Matasar-Padilla, managing director; Tracie Hunte, reporter; Matt Kielty, producer; Soren Wheeler, managing editor.


Abacus: Small Enough to Jail; PBS Distribution, Frontline and ITVS; Mitten Media, Motto Pictures and Kartemquin Films Production; Steve James, director; Mark Mitten, producer; Julie Goldman, producer.

Baltimore Rising; Blowback Productions for HBO Documentary Films; Sonja Sohn, director and executive producer; Marc Levin, Anthony Hemingway, George Pelecanos and Mark Taylor, executive producers; Sheila Nevins, executive producer for HBO; Nancy Abraham. senior producer.

48 Hours: “Guilty Until Proven Innocent;” 48 Hours/CBS News Maureen Maher, correspondent; Peter Schweitzer, senior producer; Nancy Kramer, executive story editor; Judy Rybak, producer; Alicia Tejada, field producer.

Updated at 1:05 p.m. to revise credits in “Guilty Until Proven Innocent” and “Secrecy Rules” and correct headline misspelling. Last updated March 19 to correct spelling of Melissa Delzio’s name.

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