Jenner & Block

Firm Receives Appellate Award from Northwestern Children's Law Pro Bono Project

The Children's Law Pro Bono Project of the Children and Family Justice Center gave its 2005 Appellate Award to Jenner & Block, for its work on A.M. v. Butler.  Partner Robert R. Stauffer, who had represented the boy before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals along with Associate David E. Walters, accepted the award on behalf of the Firm.

On March 2, 2004, the 7th U.S. Circuit of Appeals ruled in A.M. v. Butler  that the Chicago police had violated the constitutional rights of a youth who claimed he was coerced into confessing to a murder of an elderly woman in 1993, when he was 10 years old. There was no physical evidence to tie the youth to the crime. Throughout the case, the accused youth and pro bono client of the Firm was referred to by the pseudonym Anthony Morgan.  The Seventh Circuit's decision affirmed the grant of habeas corpus relief by the District Court, where the youth had also been represented by Jenner & Block.

"The work that Jenner & Block put into this case was nothing short of remarkable," said Northwestern University Assistant Professor Steven A. Drizin, who represented the pro bono client in his appeals in the Illinois courts and worked with Jenner & Block in the federal case. "I would safely guess that the firm has put in a total of over 2,000 hours in representing this young man.

"We were extremely happy to have received the decision that we did in March for our client," said Mr. Stauffer. "It was a great pleasure to work with Professor Drizin and his team at Northwestern, who are so tireless in their pursuit of justice for juveniles who get caught up in the criminal justice system."

Also receiving an award during the annual award and recognition reception for the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University School of Law, was Cheryl Graves for the Community Justice for Youth Institute's dedication to assisting the legal needs of at-risk youth, based on Chicago's South Side. "Everyone in this room's dedication to pro bono work is truly inspiring," said Monica L. Llorente, Director of the Children's Law Pro Bono Project. "Were it not for the work of dedicated professionals like yourselves, the legal needs of many young people would go unmet."

To view the opinion in A.M. v. Butler, please click here.