Despite the resounding success of the first annual Best Criminal Law Blawg Post, the second blew it away. The swarms of locusts that seek to devour the blawgosphere failed to make 2010 the year that the criminal law blawgs were reduced to an intellectual wasteland. We survived. Against all odds, we thrived.
The quality and diversity of the offerings made the selection of a best blawg post extremely difficult, nearly impossible. It was akin to comparing apples and carburetors, a task that can’t really be accomplished. For that reason, I would be remiss in not recognizing some of the great achievements along the way.
First, this post by Sam Morrison at the LA Times blog about “the deep-seated institutional bias of the Justice Department against the exercise of executive clemency,” is startling and one of those must-read posts. Then there’s the post by the Military Underdog, Eric Mayer, on the fragility of attaining the right outcome.
Jeff Gamso, whose posts are never drivel, drove home the hypocrisy within our own ranks, while Norm Pattis, in a very imaginative series, told of Gerry Darrow, the trench lawyer who never was, breaking the glass ceiling of power. Striking a similar chord was Matt Brown’s realization of how power rests in the hands of the ignorant.
Walter Reaves’ painful memories of the execution of the innocent Todd Willingham, as was Public Defender Revolution’s Carol opening her own wounds. Then there is the unempathetic work of empathetic lawyering, as Mark Bennett and Brian Tannebaum consistently provide, and with which Rick Horowitz struggles.
There are a wealth of criminal defense lawyers who offer their time and thoughts both to broaden our collective knowledge base, from the more banal aspects of our work in the trenches to the broader philosophical issues that leave us year after year wondering how and why we strap on our briefcases to try to defend the accused for one more day.
It goes without saying that there are blogs that seek nothing more than to capture the search of the latest drunk driving defendant, or offer explanations, counsel, views that are seriously misguided, sometimes dangerously so. These use of words can serve to enlighten, or mislead and confuse, and it is the duty of lawyers, particularly in our niche of the profession, to not allow others to walk away from the blawgosphere stupider than when they arrived.
The best of the blawgosphere does that; it both raises our wisdom and dispels the foolishness. It’s not acceptable to play on the ignorance or emotions of the very people who need us for one’s self-interest or aggrandizement, and I salute the excellent work of the criminal law blawgosphere for the not always pleasant work of keeping our corner a better place.
Yet, one post stands out among all the others, and they are great others, to be the Best Criminal Law Blawg Post of 2010. The winner of the second annual award is a not-as-young-as-he-used-to-be Public Defender, who oddly is seen in the mind’s eye of almost everyone across the blawgosphere as an old white man wearing less than fashionable glasses. And he likes it that way.
The Best Criminal Law Blawg Post of 2010 goes to Gideon at A Public Defender for Life Without Possibility of Redemption, combining almost every aspect of what lawyers in the criminal law blawgosphere have to offer. Substance, passion, the banal aspect of our work implicating deep philosophical roots, integrity and brutal, clear honesty.
Gideon has been at the foundation of the criminal law blawgosphere for a long time, before I arrived, and has never wavered in his commitment to making every person who reads his words better for having spent the time. This year’s award couldn’t go to a more deserving blawger, and I’m honored to count myself among Gideon’s readers and admirers.
Gid, this badge (from the fingertips of Amy Derby) goes to you: