2013 Recipients

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Where presented : 
Exemplar Award Dinner
Recipient(s) name: 
Lisa Krisher, Georgia Legal Services Program, and Sandra Levick, Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia
Reason for selection of recipient(s): 

Lisa is honored for her “lifelong vision and commitment” to the Georgia Legal Services Program (GLSP). Starting in 1978, she represented clients in the most challenging circumstances of a rural southern state with entrenched poverty and ongoing civil rights issues. Lisa has created major institutional changes to address systemic barriers to the well being of those she represents. 

Lisa has spearheaded the development of advocacy strategies designed to support the critical needs of clients during harsh economic periods. She led the GLSP Food Stamp Action Team and filed federal civil rights complaints after identifying almost insurmountable barriers for seniors and persons with disabilities to apply or recertify for benefits, as well as shocking practices by the state to investigate alleged food stamp fraud. The federal complaints resulted in extensive adverse findings on the Georgia food stamp program and forced major changes. 

Lisa has tackled the most difficult cases while taking on a leadership role to advocate on behalf of underserved populations. She has had an enormous impact on farmworker rights, enjoying a notable victory in litigating on behalf of eighty individuals for back wages and other relief. She has enjoyed similar success leading the Latino advocacy group, driving the Georgia Department.of Labor to provide critical documents and services in Spanish.

Sandra is honored for a 31-year career in which she has made a profound difference in the lives of her clients through direct representation, and to the national debate about forensic science reform. Recognized for “unwavering passion”, “mastery of the law” and “meticulous fact investigation”, Sandra’s impact is significant and lasting. 

She is well known for securing the high profile exonerations of three innocent men that had collectively served over 70 years in prison. All three convictions relied on microscopic hair analysis which Sandra exposed as ‘junk science’. Her dedication to these cases caused the Department of Justice to announce a nationwide review of at least 21,000 cases to investigate whether the improper practice resulted in false convictions.

 Another career highlight is her important appellate work in Winfield v. United States where a District of Columbia appellate court held that evidence of another’s guilt presented in one’s own defense need not be subjected to a heightened standard.