Atlanta (April 13, 2009) – On Tuesday, March 31, 2009, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP hosted the Atlanta Pro Bono Awards Reception. During this event, more than 80 awards were given to attorneys that contributed more than 50 and more than 100 hours of pro bono service in 2008. Partner Ann G. Fort received the first annual Charles T. Lester Pro Bono Award for her work leading Samuel David Crowe’s death penalty team.
Ann spent 11 years and more than 1,000 pro bono hours on the Samuel David Crowe case. The Sutherland team took the case in 1996 and represented Mr. Crowe through two state habeas proceedings, a federal habeas proceeding including an appeal to the Eleventh Circuit, a petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court, and a successful clemency case before the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, which granted Mr. Crowe clemency and life without parole.
Sutherland provided continuous representation throughout Mr. Crowe's post-conviction appeals. This was essential to Mr. Crowe’s defense due to the complex and challenging nature of federal habeas corpus review. In order to get the case to the Eleventh Circuit, the team mastered state and federal criminal procedure, state and federal constitutional law, state and federal habeas statutes, and state and federal habeas procedural rules.
"We congratulate Ann for her extraordinary commitment to pro bono work," said Managing Partner Mark D. Wasserman.
The award is named after Sutherland’s retired partner Charles T. Lester, who was Sutherland’s pro bono partner for six years. Mr. Lester remains active in pro bono activities, including the Election Protection Project coordinated by the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the Georgia Supreme Court’s Committee on Civil Justice, helping to oversee a survey to identify legal services for Georgia's neediest.
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Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is a law firm with global reach known for solving challenging business problems and resolving sophisticated legal issues for many of the world’s largest companies. Founded in 1924, the firm handles matters throughout the United States and worldwide. Seven major practice areas—corporate, financial services, energy and environmental, intellectual property, litigation, real estate, and tax—provide the framework for an extensive range of focus areas, allowing Sutherland attorneys to serve a diverse client base that ranges from small and medium-sized start-up businesses to a significant number of Fortune 100 companies.