Hezekiah Sistrunk Receives Clarence Darrow Award

Apr 24, 2014, 16:47 ET from The Cochran Firm

ATLANTA, April 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Cochran Firm is pleased to announce that Atlanta attorney and National Partner, Hezekiah Sistrunk was awarded the Clarence Darrow Award at the 2014 Mass Torts Made Perfect Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 10, 2014. Presented by Mike Papantonio of MTMP, the Clarence Darrow Award recognizes dedication and excellence in the legal profession and is given to an attorney who has demonstrated exceptional conviction in their work.

The prestigious Clarence Darrow Award is a national award and honors the legacy of famed attorney Clarence Darrow. One of the greatest trial lawyers of the 20th century and a leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union, Darrow was known for his eloquent presentations and oral arguments. His role in defending John T. Scopes in the Scopes Monkey Trial in 1925 was later depicted by Spencer Tracy in the film Inherit the Wind.

Hezekiah Sistrunk has been a trial lawyer for over 30 years and has tried over 100 cases. He is a National Partner and President of The Cochran Firm, Chairman of the National Firm's Executive/Management Committee, and Managing Partner of the Firm's Atlanta office.

Passionate about his profession as a lawyer, Hezekiah is proud that his career has enabled him to use the jury trial system as a bully pulpit to obtain justice for the underserved and underrepresented members of the community.  An advocate for justice and fairness, Hezekiah seeks to foster significant change with every outcome and recalls numerous cases which brought about a constructive impact felt by all members of a community.

"It's not always about the promise of the 'big bucks' return," Hezekiah said in his remarks when accepting the award. "The outcome of many of those cases fostered significant social change for individuals, families and communities," he added.

Over 15 years ago, a father and son working to repair Atlanta's public rail system were killed because no adequate safety procedures were in place to protect and warn workers of oncoming train traffic.  While the victims' family received an eight figure settlement, the resolution of the case was conditioned on the development and implementation of a set of safety rules and equipment upgrades designed to prevent another similar catastrophe.  These rules and procedures are, in large measure, still in place today.

In 2006, when the Atlanta Police Department's (APD) Narcotics unit killed 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston during an illegal raid of her home, it was discovered the APD's narcotics unit planted drugs in the victim's home in an attempt to cover up the illegal shooting.  Also brought out was a quota system in the narcotics unit that encouraged and promoted these illegal tactics.  The case resulted in the largest settlement of a police brutality wrongful death case in Georgia history.  The lasting legacy of prosecuting the case and securing a resolution is that several of the offending officers went to prison.  The APD dismantled the entire narcotics unit, rewrote its policies and procedures and rebuilt the unit from the ground up.  The City of Atlanta created a permanent citizen review board to review the Johnston case and all future shooting in Atlanta where illegal police conduct is alleged or suspected.

Most recently, The Cochran Firm represented a black family from Coushatta, Louisiana in a trucking death case. Coushatta is located in a Louisiana parish where there had not been a plaintiff's personal injury verdict in over 50 years and no verdicts ever in favor of a black plaintiff. The case was tried before a jury of local citizens who returned a seven-figure verdict in favor of the victim's family.  When the case was final, history and progress were realized for the family and the ethos of the town.

About The Cochran Firm:

Founded over 40 years ago by famed attorney, Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr., The Cochran Firm, as it is known today, has established itself as one of the premier trial advocacy firms in the United States. Recognized nationally for their achievements in the courtroom, attorneys with The Cochran Firm have obtained litigation results which have significantly impacted the law, communities, and industry practices. For more information about The Cochran Firm, contact our offices at 1-800-THE FIRM, or visit our website at www.cochranfirm.com.

SOURCE The Cochran Firm