American Bar Association

ABA announces 2019 Silver Gavel Awards finalists

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The ABA has announced 19 finalists for the 2019 Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts, which recognize outstanding work that fosters the public’s understanding of law and the legal system.

The Gavel Awards Screening Committee, composed of 48 lawyer-members of the ABA, selected the finalists from 164 entries received in all eligible categories, which include books, documentaries, magazines, multimedia, newspapers, radio and television.

“Among so many excellent entries, the ABA Gavel Awards Screening Committee had a very demanding task to selecting these finalists,” said Stephen C. Edds, chair of the committee. “We are pleased to recognize these finalists and look forward to choosing awardees among an already select group.”

The 18-member Standing Committee on Gavel Awards will decide the winners and announce them May 15. 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 impact the public through effective and accurate presentations of issues.

The ABA has awarded Silver Gavels every year since 1958. ABA President Bob Carlson will present the winners and honorable mentions at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on July 16.

Here is a full list of the finalists:


Civilizing Torture: An American Tradition by W. Fitzhugh Brundage; Harvard University Press.

Metamorphosis: How to Transform Punishment in America by Robert A. Ferguson; Yale University Press.

Prosecuting the President: How Special Prosecutors Hold Presidents Accountable and Protect the Rule of Law by Andrew Coan; Oxford University Press.

The Schoolhouse Gate: Public Education, the Supreme Court, and the Battle for the American Mind by Justin Driver; Penguin Random House/Pantheon Books.

We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights by Adam Winkler; W.W. Norton/Liveright Publishing.

The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine Weiss; Penguin Random House/Viking.


Dark Money: American Documentary/POV and PBS Distribution; Blue Sky Film Productions with Big Mouth Productions and Meerket Media Collaborative; Kimberly Reed, director, writer and producer; Katy Chevigny, producer; Jay Arthur Sterrenberg, writer and editor; Justine Nagan and Chris White, executive producers, POV.

I Am Evidence: Shelved LLC for HBO Documentary Films; Trish Adlesic, co-director and producer; Mariska Hargitay, producer; Geeta Gandbhir, co-director and supervising editor.

RBG: Magnolia Pictures, Participant Media and CNN Films; Betsy West, director and producer; Julie Cohen, director and producer.


A Culture of No”: The Investigative Fund with the Virginia Quarterly Review; Justine van der Leun, reporter; Darren Ankrom, researcher; Esther Kaplan, editor, The Investigative Fund; Paul Reyes, editor, Virginia Quarterly Review.

Sign Here to Lose Everything”: Bloomberg; Zachary Mider, reporter; Zeke Faux, reporter; David Ingold, data analyst; Demetrios Pogkas, data analyst.


Taking Cover: How Cops Escape Discipline for Shootings in Suburban Chicago”: Better Government Association and WBEZ; Jared Rutecki and Casey Toner, investigative reporters; Patrick Smith, reporter, WBEZ; Patrick Judge, web and graphics editor.


Denied Justice”: Star Tribune (Minneapolis); Brandon Stahl, reporter; Jennifer Bjorhus, reporter; MaryJo Webster, data editor; Renee Jones Schneider, photo journalist.

Protecting the Shield”: Asbury Park Press; Paul D’Ambrosio, investigations director; Andrew Ford, Kala Kachmar, Susanne Cervenka, Alex Gecan and Ken Serrano, staff writers.


A Bar Fight Walks Into the Justice Center”: Serial, season three, episode one; Julie Snyder, executive producer; Sarah Koenig, host and reporter; Emmanuel Dzotsi, reporter; Ben Calhoun, producer; Ira Glass, editor.

Civics 101: Midterm Edition Series”: New Hampshire Public Radio’s Civics 101: A Podcast; Erika Janik, executive producer; Hannah McCarthy, co-host and producer; Nick Capodice, co-host, producer and education outreach producer.


Drawing the Line”: CBS Sunday Morning; Mo Rocca, correspondent; Dustin Stephens, producer; Chad Cardin, editor; Ed Givnish, editor; Rand Morrison, executive producer.

100 Years—One Woman’s Fight for Justice: American Documentary for World Channel/America ReFramed; Melinda Janko, director and producer; Michelle Ohayon, producer; Lekha Singh, Alan Blomquist and Dea Shandera-Hunter, executive producers; Carmen Vicencio, series producer.

Power of Attorneys”: CBS This Morning’s What’s Working; Mark Strassman, national correspondent; Larry Elardo, coordinating producer; Miles Doran, producer.

Updated on March 14 to remove a name from the credits for Denied Justice.

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