Once again, the criminal law blawgosphere has proven itself singularly vital and alive in an internet filled with self-serving promotional, worthlessly self-aggrandizing, and the empty and pointless murder of words. Not that we don’t have our share of scoundrels, but they don’t hold a candle to the excellence demonstrated by the nominees for this year’s Jdog Prize. And I couldn’t be prouder than to be a small part of this group.
Each year, the blawgosphere becomes increasingly crowded, as newcomers are sold on the proposition that throwing crap against the screen will bring them wealth and prestige. While they don’t tend to last long, and leave their dead flotsam in their wake, they suck much of the air out of the blawgosphere during their short time pretending to be a blawger. Don’t think I don’t notice your twitter bios proclaiming you to be an important blawger and motivational speaker, even though you’ve written nothing of merit and your last post was 14 months ago.
But the nominees here produce. They produce ideas, discussion, thought that illuminates others. Their writing makes other see the joy and misery of the criminal justice system. They do so with poetry and humor, with feeling and thought. They make every reader better for having spent a few minutes of their lives reading their words.
Having traversed the blawgosphere to see what other practice areas are producing, I can say without hesitation that there is no legal niche that produces as much quality writing as criminal defense lawyers. We should be proud of ourselves for this.
The downside, for me, is trying to pick the one post of the many that stands out. This year, the “old faithful” have once again provided exceptional work. Two prior winners, Jeff Gamso and Gideon, in particular have written post after post worthy of recognition.
A relative newcomer, Appellate Squawk, has demonstrated the ability to consistently use humor to skewer the foibles of the system and its robed gatekeepers. The difficulty of doing this can’t be understated. While humor has long been recognized as an effective means of providing biting commentary, it’s incredibly difficult to maintain. Yet the Squawk has proven itself up to the task, and has gained a loyal and appreciative following as a result.
But this year’s winner is a young lawyer who has allowed us to share in his maturation as a criminal defense lawyer, beginning when he was a complete rookie and growing into a hardened and effective advocate. His posts have let us be a part of his growth, as naive ideals gave way to the ugliness and unfairness of our duty, and yet how he (and we) persist despite it.
This year’s winner is particularly dear to me, as so much of what he’s experience reminds me of my early years as a criminal defense lawyer. His posts bring me back to my own epiphanies, the successes and failures that mold a war veteran. He’s done the same for many others, as well, and serves as an exceptional role model for the many new lawyers just beginning in this unpleasant enterprise.
And so, I am thrilled to award the 4th Annual Jdog Memorial Best Criminal Law Blawg Post to Matt Brown at Tempe Law Blog for this post:
While I suspect Matt has moved well beyond any need for validation of his work, I nonetheless hope he will accept this badge as a token of his enormous contribution to the blawgosphere, the excellence of his writing and recognition of the best criminal law blawg post of 2012.
My deepest appreciate to the lovely and talented Amy Derby for again creating the winner’s badge, and thus saving me from the humiliation of feebly attempting to put something together that would never be as good as what Amy does.