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Civil Rights Section

Leonard Weinglass in Defense of Civil Liberties Award

2024 Nominations Open!

Nominations for the 2024 Weinglass Award must be submitted by Monday, May 6, 2024. You may submit your nominations by e-mail to sections@justice.org. Please complete this nomination form.

2023 Leonard Weinglass in Defense of Civil Liberties Award

Beth Baldinger

Throughout her nearly 40-year career as a plaintiff trial lawyer, Beth has championed the civil rights of victims of misconduct by police and other public officials. Most recently, in May 2022, after eight years of highly contentious litigation, including a four-week trial in federal court – which ended in a mistrial – Beth settled the case of Xavier Ingram vs. Camden County for a record-breaking amount of $10 million. The settlement is the largest police brutality settlement in New Jersey history, and one of the largest in the nation’s history. Beth is a formidable trial lawyer who always go the distance to fight for her clients’ rights. Her cases have been publicized in the national and local media. 

About the Award

The AAJ Civil Rights Section presents the Leonard Weinglass in Defense of Civil Liberties Award annually to honor an attorney or a civil rights advocate who has made a noteworthy contribution to the defense of civil rights by bringing, trying, or resolving a suit, or by otherwise protecting or advancing civil liberties, in a way that has had a significant impact in the past year. The Section hosted a lecture by Leonard Weinglass and awarded him the first Weinglass Award at the 2004 AAJ Annual Convention.

Past Recipients

2022: Julie Rikelman 
2021: George Floyd Legal Team and the Floyd Family
2020: Barry Kowalski
2019: Bridie Farrell and Ross “Rocky” Anderson
2018: Bryan Stevenson
2017: Julie Brown
2016: William “Bill” J. Shepard
2015: Matthew Cron, Arash Jahanian, Qusair Mohamedbhai, and Siddartha Rathod
2014: Joseph P. Kennedy
2013: James E. McElroy
2012: People’s Law Office
2011: Michael Bien & Donald Specter
2010: Marsha Levick
2009: Fred Gray Sr.
2008: Edward G. Kramer
2006: Alan Graf
2005: Arthur Bryant
2004: Leonard Weinglass

Leonard Weinglass speaking into a microphone.

Leonard I. Weinglass

1933-2011 New York, NY
2004 Award Recipient

The Weinglass Award is named in honor of civil rights attorney Leonard Weinglass, who had long demonstrated a strong commitment to defending our civil liberties. From his days representing the Chicago Seven (originally, the Chicago Eight) with partner William Kunstler to his more recent representation of the Cuban Five, Weinglass’s clients are a “Who’s Who” of politically targeted criminal defendants. In addition to the Chicago Seven and the Cuban Five, Weinglass has represented Angela Davis, Ron Kaufman, Jane Fonda, Bill and Emily Harris (the kidnappers of Patty Hearst), Native American activists Jimi Simmons, Skyhorse and Mohawk, and death row journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Civil Rights Section

Section members works to preserve constitutional rights and vindicate the rights of individuals whose civil rights have been violated.

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Annual Awards

Each year, American Association for Justice honors trial lawyers, affiliates, and advocates who support its fight for justice.

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