Last Friday, June 15, 2012– the 797th anniversary of the Magna Carta– I was very honored to receive a Pony Award from Sam Dalton and Mary Howell. Liz Cumming, John Adcock, and Katie Schwartzman were also all recipients
What is a Pony Award, you ask? Well, as Sam and Mary explained, it’s a friendly award for having worked really hard for a good cause. My award was based on my work on what’s come to be called the attorney-visitation case. The Law Office, along with the law firm of Stone Pigman, former Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court Pascal Calogero, and Liz Cumming, represents the Orleans Parish Public Defender’s Office in the case against the Orleans Sheriff. The suit alleged that the attorney-visitation conditions at the Orleans Parish Prison violated the statutory and constitutional rights of detainees by impinging on their right to counsel in a number of ways, including excessive wait times and lack of privacy for attorney-client meetings. After literally years of work (all pro bono), we finally obtained a consent judgment in which the Sheriff agreed to a major overhaul of the visitation conditions. You can read the petition, memorandum in support, consent judgment, and related news articles on the case below. Our case relied in part on Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure Article 511 which, as far as we could tell, has never been raised in civil case regarding conditions of confinement.
And here’s me with Sam Dalton and the Pony Award! (Sorry; the explanation for why it’s called the “Pony Award” is a closely guarded secret).