Mercury News Staff Writer Karen de Sá has won a Silver Gavel award from the American Bar Association for her series on the problems in California's juvenile dependency courts.That's the trick for getting an award from a lawyers organization -- write some articles advocating more money for lawyers!
De Sá received the association's highest honor for her work on "Broken Families, Broken Courts." The Mercury News was the only newspaper in the country to win the award.
The association has presented the award since 1958 to recognize work in the media and the arts that foster the public's understanding of the law and legal system. ...
In the wake of the series, the state has approved broad reforms to shore up the system, expanding a pilot program to ensure that court-appointed dependency lawyers are properly trained and compensated, and a new law that strengthens the right of children to attend hearings where their fates are decided.
The articles did report some bad practices by the juvenile dependency court, but the problems were systemic and paying the lawyers more money will not do a bit of good.