We heard today from the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (WACDL) that Brendan Kiley is going to become one of only two journalists in the organization's 25-year history to receive their annual Champion of Justice Award. "Past recipients include a Supreme Court Justice, a Senator, a Representative, the Innocence Project Northwest, and other esteemed individuals," WACDL writes. The award is for "an individual who may not be a lawyer, and may not be a member of WACDL, but who—through legislative, judicial, journalistic, or humanitarian pursuits—has staunchly preserved or defended the constitutional rights of Washington residents and endeavored to ensure justice and due process for those accused of crime."
Few mainstream journalists are willing to confront the ethical issues associated with these proceedings. Brendan Kiley is the only one who has been willing to move beyond "is it legal?" to "is it moral?" And although his interest was initially piqued by the iniquitousness of the grand jury, he has written several feature-length articles since, humanizing the individuals caught in the dragnet, decrying the cruel and arbitrary conditions at the Federal Detention Center, and updating the public about the status of the case. Throughout, Kiley's approach has been replete with humanity, eloquence, and—despite the grimness of the issue—even humor.