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Gavel

Baylor Law School proudly co-sponsored the American Bar Association's 2014 Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts. The awards ceremony took place July 22 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Representing Baylor at the event were the Hon. William Sessions (JD ’58), former director of the FBI, and former U.S. Congressman from Texas; and Baylor University W.R. Poage Distinguished Chair for Public Service, and former U.S. Congressman, the Hon. Chet Edwards.

The Silver Gavel Awards, now in their 57th year, recognize outstanding efforts by the media and arts to foster public understanding of law. This year’s featured speaker was Dahlia Lithwick, a senior editor for the online news site, Slate.

"Baylor Law School was honored to be a co-sponsor of this event," said Baylor Law School Dean Brad Toben. "For decades the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Awards have recognized books, investigative journalism series, films such as 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' and documentaries that expose the public to the workings - both good and bad - of the American justice system. The winners of these awards have used their various media platforms to keep the American public from becoming complacent about injustice."

The Gavel Awards are extremely selective, with the standing committee choosing only six winners this year:

  • The Terror Courts: Rough Justice at Guantanamo Bay, a book that goes inside the Pentagon’s prosecution team to probe the post-9/11 military-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 armed forces.

  • "Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl," a radio program about a 3-year-old girl entangled in a custody case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • "The Invisible War," a film airing on PBS about the "epidemic" of rape in the U.S. military.

David Swenson, the George G. Kelly Professor of Law at Baylor Law School, is a member of the Silver Gavel’s screening committee, which helps the standing committee select the winners.

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