GJP Volunteers given St. Thomas More Society Award

Georgia Justice Project is so proud of its association with H. Lane Dennard, Esq. King & Spalding, LLP (Retired) and Patrick C. DiCarlo, Esq. Alston & Bird, LLP who were honored yesterday at the Annual Red Mass hosted by Atlanta’s St. Thomas More Society.  Following is an excerpt from the program:

The involvement of Lane Dennard and Pat DiCarlo with the Georgia Justice Project (GJP) spans nearly a decade and in that time they have positively impacted the lives of thousands of Georgians.  Early in their work with the GJP, Lane and Pat began providing pro bono representation to residents of the McDaniel-Glenn housing project who faced the prospect of eviction because of a criminal history.  Together with other volunteers, they represented nearly 200 families, all but 6 of which were able to retain their housing vouchers.

Though pleased with the outcome, the experience convinced them that legislative reform was a necessity.  The result of this conclusion was an impressive call to arms. Lane and Neil compiled a team of volunteers to help provide the empirical research supporting their co-authored book on the lasting and unintended ramifications of numerous criminal statutes in Georgia: COLLATERAL CONSEQUENCES OF ARREST AND CONVICTION:  POLICY AND LAW IN GEORGIA.

Published in 2009, the book played a significant role in the legislative reforms that followed.  The release of the book gave GJP’s staff credibility and a calling card, and opened the door to an invitation to redraft Georgia’s expungement statute.  Neither Pat’s nor Lane’s support ever wavered.  They testified in front of several committees, called legislators, and even spoke to funders in support of GJP’s advocacy work.  Their tireless advocacy produced results: a revision to the expungement statute similar to what was called for in the book was included in the Governor’s Criminal Justice Reform package.  For the first time in Georgia, nonconvictions will automatically be removed from a criminal record, easing the path to jobs and housing for countless Georgians caught up in the criminal justice system.

It is for these efforts that today we honor the contributions of Lane and Pat for their commitment to justice, humanity, and compassion in service to others.”