ACTL Selects Arizona Justice Project as 2021 Emil Gumpert Award Recipient

$100,000 Grant to ensure sentencing integrity and a meaningful opportunity for release of currently imprisoned individuals in front of the Parole Board and Board of Executive Clemency

PHOENIX, ARIZONA. (May 13, 2021) - The American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL) has selected the Arizona Justice Project (AJP) as the 2021 Emil Gumpert Award recipient. The AJP is being recognized for its proposal to ensure sentencing integrity, a meaningful opportunity for release, and expand its capacity to represent individuals at parole or clemency proceedings by creating trainings and materials for others to get involved in this meaningful work.

The award, the highest honor conferred by the American College of Trial Lawyers on a single organization annually, recognizes programs whose principal purpose is to maintain and improve the administration of justice. It comes with a $100,000 grant.

“The Arizona Justice Project is thrilled to be named the 2021 Emil Gumpert Award recipient. This award will allow the Justice Project to expand our reach in creating a meaningful opportunity at release for hundreds of individuals who would otherwise languish in prison and help people prepare for a parole hearing and plan for re-entry into society,” said Lindsay Herf, Executive Director of the Arizona Justice Project.

The Program’s primary goal is to ensure a legal path to parole for individuals who were promised a chance at release from prison and to develop materials that can be used by attorneys, volunteers, and prisoners on how to prepare for a parole hearing and plan for a successful re-entry back into society. In Arizona, as well as in other states across the country, prisoners are not entitled to counsel before a parole hearing. This program may offer their only opportunity to receive legal representation.

The $100,000 grant will expand the small, but already impactful existing program initiated by the Arizona Justice Project. This program will directly impact hundreds of people in Arizona in helping them with a chance at release and will connect people in other states to resources needed to help them prepare for life after incarceration.

“I am honored to present our Emil Gumpert Award to a program that has touched so many lives,” said ACTL President Rodney Acker. “By providing access to justice for incarcerated individuals through integrity and sentencing fairness, the AJP is actively upholding the mission of the Emil Gumpert award. The $100,000 grant provided by our Foundation will help the AJP expand their capacity to provide important services and access to counsel for individuals denied parole hearings due to contradictory “Truth in Sentencing” legislation in Arizona’s criminal justice system. The College is proud to support such a worthy project.”

About the Emil Gumpert Award

The Emil Gumpert Award is the highest honor conferred by the College on any organization and was established to recognize programs whose principal purpose is to maintain and improve the administration of justice. The programs considered may be associated with courts, law schools, bar associations or any other organization that provides such a program. This award is made in honor of the late Honorable Emil Gumpert, Chancellor-Founder of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Judge Gumpert, throughout his more than half-century professional career as an eminent trial lawyer, State Bar president and trial judge, substantially and effectively devoted himself to the administration of justice and to the improvement of trial practice.

About the American College of Trial Lawyers

The American College of Trial Lawyers comprises the best of the trial bar from the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico and is widely considered to be the premier professional trial organization in North America. Founded in 1950, the College is an invitation only fellowship. The College thoroughly investigates each nominee for admission and selects only those who have demonstrated the very highest standards of trial advocacy, ethical conduct, integrity, professionalism and collegiality. The College maintains and seeks to improve the standards of trial practice, professionalism, ethics, and the administration of justice through education and public statements on important legal issues relating to its mission. The College strongly supports the independence of the judiciary, trial by jury, respect for the rule of law, access to justice, and fair and just representation of all parties to legal proceedings.