News Release

ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero Awarded Champion of Justice Award by National Criminal Defense Bar

Washington, DC (July 31, 2012) – On July 27, 2012, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) honored the architect of the “John Adams Project” -- Anthony Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU -- with the Champion of Justice award. Through the John Adams Project, a joint effort of the ACLU and NACDL, detainees accused of capital crimes at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, received appropriately qualified defense teams before the Bush Administration’s military commissions there.

The award was presented to Mr. Romero at the gala celebration of the upcoming 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, an event sponsored by the Foundation for Criminal Justice and held in conjunction with NACDL’s 2012 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California, last week.

NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer introduced Romero at the event. “I have never encountered anyone so dogged about fighting an injustice. I have never met anyone who was not a defense lawyer so keenly understand the role of a defense lawyer in confronting governmental abuse and injustice. This, more than anything is why Anthony Romero has earned the award we give him tonight.”

Anthony Romero, who has a long history engagement and leadership on the civil and human rights fronts, is the ACLU’s sixth executive director, and the first Latino and openly gay man to serve in that capacity. In 2005, he was also named one of Time Magazine’s 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America.

A list of prior Champion of Justice Award recipients is available here 

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Ivan J. Dominguez Deputy Director of Public Affairs & Communications, (202) 465-7662 or

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.