Elliot Abrams named Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year

Our civil rights lawyer, Elliot Abrams, received the Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year award for his work securing what is believed to be the largest combined verdict for wrongly convicted people in the history of the United States of $75 million.

The award was presented in Seattle in July 2022.

The case involved two wrongly convicted men who each served 31 years in prison, mostly on death row, for a heinous crime that they did not commit. After a five-day federal civil rights jury trial, the jury awarded the men $75 million. The award was later increased to over $110 million to account for prejudgment interest and other costs that were taxed against the law enforcement officer defendants. Other law enforcement officer defendants settled shortly before the end of the trial for $9 million.

The defendants in the case were the law enforcement officers who coerced false confessions from the two plaintiffs, who were then 15 and 19 years old. The officers also covered up the fact that they had another suspect, who lived 38 feet from the crime scene and committed an unmistakably similar crime weeks later when the plaintiffs were in jail. The wrongful conduct of these law enforcement officers caused these two innocent men to serve a combined 62 years in prison, mostly on death row, before they were exonerated.

The case has been covered extensively by the Washington Post, NY Times, the News & Observer, and by other outlets.

In addition to Elliot Abrams, special credit goes to the Raymond Tarlton, who was Guardian Ad Litem in the case; as well as to civil rights lawyer Liz Lockwood of Ali & Lockwood, LLP, and to the pro bono team at Hogan Lovells (Des Hogan, Cate Stetson, David Maxwell, and others), who shared in the award.

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