Legal BisNow Features Story About Barbara McDowell High Impact Pro Bono Initiative

On November 3, 2011 a story appear in Legal BisNow about the Barbara McDowell High Impact Pro Bono Initiative.  That story said:

A First for Civil Rights

For the first time in history, there's a civil suit against a prosecutor for racial discrimination in jury selection. The Equal Justice Initiative is teaming up with the Barbara McDowell High Impact Pro Bono Initiative on the lawsuit, filed late last month. We snapped Drinker Biddle's Jerry Hartman in his office; he founded the Barbara McDowell Initiative with the support of the firm to honor of late wife, a public interest attorney who frequently argued before the Supreme Court. The complaint alleges that Alabama DA Doug Valeska excluded 82 percent of qualified black jurors in death penalty cases; one of the districts in his purview has the state's highest death sentencing rate.

Preparing the complaint took more than a year and hundreds of hours sifting through data, Jerry tells us. He hopes the case becomes a deterrent for future jury discrimination; since the discrimination is a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1875, they also hope to eventually get the DOJ involved. We snapped Maureen Hardwick chatting with Jerry about future of the Initiative. The Barbara McDowell and Gerald Hartman Foundation just distributed grants in the amount of $50K to five pro bono organizations doing social justice lit (whittled down from 20 applications), and is working on its second round of fundraising--the goal is to reach $3M by the end of 2013.

(November 2011)