The Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s “Bias on the Bench” series was recently announced as the first-place winner in the print category of The Florida Bar’s 62nd Annual Media Awards competition, which recognizes outstanding legal journalism that highlights how the law and justice system affects Floridians.
Josh Salman, Emily Le Coz and Elizabeth Johnson’s series focused on criminal sentencing and found that judges throughout Florida sentence African-American defendants more harshly than white defendants charged with the same crime. Since its release, legislation has been proposed that would require the Florida Legislature’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability to use data from the state’s court system and correctional agency to check for patterns that might show similar prejudice.
The series was also recognized by the Florida Public Defender Association’s L. Clayton Nance Award, which recognizes people who have “made significant improvement to the furtherance of justice in the state of Florida” who are not public defenders.
“Bias on the Bench” has also earned awards from journalism organizations including the Florida Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press Media Editors and the American Society of News Editors.
For more information, visit the Herald-Tribune.