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Crowell & Moring Wins 2018 Exceptional Service Award from the ABA Death Penalty Representation Project

Washington – July 5, 2018: Crowell & Moring LLP has been awarded the 2018 Exceptional Service Award from the American Bar Association’s Death Penalty Representation Project. The award honors the work of volunteer law firms for their “exceptional commitment to providing high quality pro bono representation for indigent death row prisoners,” and is considered among the signature achievements in the pro bono bar.

Over the past two decades, Crowell & Moring has devoted more than 25,000 hours to death penalty representation, investing more than $11 million worth of attorney time to these matters. The firm has represented numerous inmates on death row across the United States including Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, and Oklahoma. Two notable representations exemplify the firm’s more recent work in this arena:  

  • On referral of the ABA Death Penalty Representation Project, Crowell & Moring took on the case of Florida inmate Crosley Green in 2009, representing him in an extensive resentencing hearing in Florida state court. As a result, his death sentence was vacated and converted to life with eligibility for parole, and he received a reduced sentence by one-third for other offenses. Crowell & Moring has continued to represent Green in his ongoing appeal and efforts to secure a new trial due to constitutional violations in his original state trial, all of which point to the fact that he is actually innocent of the crime for which he was convicted.
  • Crowell & Moring also represents Anthony Apanovitch in connection with his post conviction petition under Ohio’s DNA statute. Apanovitch sat on death row for 32 years in Ohio but was released in 2015 through Crowell & Moring’s efforts. After an evidentiary hearing, an Ohio state court judge ruled that newly discovered and uncontroverted DNA evidence (which had been hidden by the State for years) excluded Apanovitch as the perpetrator of the rape and acquitted him of that charge. The judge also dismissed a second rape count on “double jeopardy” grounds and found that the relevant evidence (including the newly discovered DNA) changed the “nature and tenor of the case” so “greatly” that a new trial on the remaining counts was warranted. The State appealed the trial court’s ruling and Apanovitch remains free on bond as the firm has briefed and argued the appeal all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court.   

“Crowell & Moring recognizes that our lawyers become better people — and better lawyers — by doing pro bono work that is personally and professionally meaningful and benefits the community at large,” said Susan M. "Susie" Hoffman, the firm's public service partner. “While the firm has built a broad and deep pro bono practice, it has made a special commitment to and investment in criminal justice issues. Its death penalty representation is a significant part of this commitment – a commitment that is fueled by dedicated attorneys at all levels who have gone (and will continue to go) to extraordinary lengths to assure that our criminal justice system is fair, accountable, and humane.”

Created in 1986, the Project is the ABA’s leading resource on issues related to the defense effort in death penalty cases, with its focus on improving the quality and availability of legal representation for people facing the prospect of death row. The firm will be honored at ABA's volunteer recognition and awards dinner on September 20 at the Decatur House in Washington.

About Crowell & Moring's Pro Bono Practice 

Crowell & Moring's nationally acclaimed pro bono practice includes a broad range of matters, particularly children's rights/family law, immigration, and criminal justice. The firm also handles countless other types of pro bono matters referred by nonprofit legal services organizations and, on occasion, its own lawyers. More than 20 years ago, Crowell & Moring was the first DC-based firm to elect a full-time public service partner and has twice been honored as D.C. Bar Pro Bono Firm of the Year in Washington. Today, the firm's lawyers contribute more than 35,000 hours in pro bono legal services annually to low-income and underrepresented individuals and deserving nonprofits.

About Crowell & Moring LLP

Crowell & Moring LLP is an international law firm with more than 500 lawyers representing clients in litigation and arbitration, regulatory, and transactional matters. The firm is internationally recognized for its representation of Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes litigation, as well as its ongoing commitment to pro bono service and diversity. The firm has offices in Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, London, and Brussels.


An Pham
Senior Communications Manager