The Partnership for Civil Justice
In the past year, this three-lawyer firm won more than $20 million in settlements with the District over false arrest cases stemming from IMF/World Bank protests, waged a successful legal fight against D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier’s checkpoint program, and shined a light on the woeful discovery abuses in the litigation that followed the 2002 Pershing Park mass arrests. If it wasn’t for the PCJ, those abuses—which include faulty radio dispatch recordings and missing documents—may not have come to light. Their findings put a dent in the reputation of the Office of the Attorney General and got the notice of U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan. “It raises serious questions about when, if ever, can anyone trust their government,” Sullivan said in a July hearing of the PCJ’s findings. The case has since drawn an independent investigation, the imminent hiring of a forensic examiner, and a possible request by Sullivan for a federal probe. Civil liberties couldn’t find smarter and more determined champions than these guys.