ABA unveils selections for annual awards

The American Bar Association has announced its selections for the 2014 Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts, which recognize outstanding work in media and the arts that fosters the American public’s understanding of law and the legal system.

This is the ABA’s highest honor in recognition of this purpose.

The winners are:
• “The Terror Courts: Rough Justice at Guantanamo Bay,” a book that goes inside the Pentagon’s prosecution team to probe the post-9/11military-commission system
• “An American Gulag,” commentary about the treatment of mentally ill inmates
• “Gideon’s Army,” a documentary that tells the story of three young public defenders on a quest for “justice for all”
• “Twice Betrayed,” a newspaper series about victims of sexual assault in the military
• “Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl,” a radio program about a 3-year-old girl entangled in a custody case before the Supreme Court
• “The Invisible War,” a TV documentary about the “epidemic” of rape in the U.S. military

The ceremony will take place on July 22 in Washington, D.C. ABA President James R. Silkenat will present the awards.

The ABA will present six Silver Gavels and three Honorable Mentions from 169 entries received in all eligible categories: books, commentary, documentaries, drama and literature, magazines, newspapers, radio, television and other media.

Selection criteria include: how the entry addresses the Gavel Awards’ purpose and objectives; educational value of legal information; impact on, or outreach to, the public; thoroughness and accuracy in presentation of issues; creativity and originality in approach to subject matter and effectiveness of presentation; and demonstrated technical skill in the entry’s production.

“Selecting the 2014 Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts is the result of an intensive review by the American Bar Association,” said Cory M. Amron, chair of the Gavel Awards committee. “We congratulate this year’s awardees for their exceptional work to advance public understanding of the law.”

The association has presented these awards annually since 1958. The 18-member ABA Standing Committee on Gavel Awards makes final award decisions.