31 Aug John Chosen as 2021 Top Lawyer in Civil Rights Denver by His Peers
I am honored in my 5th decade of practice to be recognized by our peers as Best Lawyer’s 2021 Lawyer of the Year for Civil Rights Law in Denver. I find this recognition particularly cheering during COVID.
I am also very proud to join Anna Holland Edwards who received this same award in 2020 for her work in Civil Rights.
These recognitions remind us that it is all the more important to keep focusing on the violence being inflicted daily on our citizens all over the country, especially people of color.
The Civil Rights bar in Colorado is a very special group. We are all battle scarred from years of fighting to protect our clients rights against the Supreme Court’s continuing evisceration of the people’s civil and constitutional rights through the pretext of qualified immunity. This year I am very proud to say civil rights lawyers in Colorado group led by many community advocates passed through the Colorado Legislature the most important Civil Rights Act in fifty years, an act which abolishes qualified immunity as a defense for state constitutional violations, thereby restoring governmental accountability for rogue policing.
Also this year, our firm, helped by many of these same distinguished civil rights colleagues, has taken the lead through Anna and Erica Grossman, as cooperating counsel in the ACLU’s COVID 19 state wide prison class action lawsuit, against the Colorado Department of Corrections and Governor Polis. See the Westword discussing this case. This case is aimed at making prisoners safer during this monumental health crisis and at creating more space for distancing in our jails by seeking early release for people who are at high risk for COVID but not a threat to our communities.
I am also especially excited that through Erica’s and Anna’s advocacy we have recently secured crucial constitutional rights for people in mental crisis who are killed by police without the use of the life saving crisis intervention tactics of time and distance. The 10th Circuit issued a very important ruling in favor of the family of Jaimie Ceballos. Jaimie was tragically killed in less than a minute by police without any of the multiple available alternatives being deployed. See the Westword and Denver Post.
Police brutality in the form of fatal shootings and beatings and abuses of power are obviously taking no time out for the pandemic. Our firm continues to engage in this work every day along with cases involving deliberate indifference to the serious medical needs of prisoners in our jails which much too frequently result in preventable deaths.
Anna and Erica have also again been recognized in the area of Civil Rights by Best Lawyers and Dan Weiss has just received his first such recognition for his work to advance and protect Civil Rights.