31 honored for journalistic skills

Thirty-one reporters and editors will be honored by the State Bar this month for excellence in legal reporting in the past year.

The annual Golden Medallion Media Awards will be handed out Oct. 13 in Long Beach for stories which covered issues ranging from the death penalty to the three strikes law to legal services for the poor.

The awards have been given since 1954.

The 1996 winners are:

Newspapers over 100,000 circulation

Gold Medallion -- Mareva Brown, Sacramento Bee, for "Beyond Death Row," the story of 47 California prison inmates who were paroled after the Supreme Court overturned the death penalty.

Silver Medallion -- Henry Weinstein, Los Angeles Times, for "Legal Services for the Poor," a two-part story which examined the Great Society's legal aid legacy.

Bronze Medallion -- Mack Reed, Los Angeles Times, for "An Even Longer Death Row Wait," an examination of the shortage of death penalty appeals lawyers.

Newspapers under 100,000 circulation

Gold Medallion -- Emily Adams, The Daily Breeze (Torrance), for two stories on a county investigation of a judge's alleged favoritism.

Silver Medallion -- Gary Rivlin, East Bay Express (Berkeley), for "Judge Sweeney's One Mean SOB," a profile of Alameda County juvenile court Judge Wilmont Sweeney.

Bronze Medallion -- Joe Martin, Sacramento News & Review, for "Three Strikes Hits Home," a look at how the tough anti-crime law is applied in Sacramento.

Honorable Mention -- Kevin Kelleher and Jim Gardner, San Francisco Business Times, for "Laying Down the Law," a story about legal cost management by corporations; and Keith Dalton, Barry Bortnick and Stephanie Finucane, Santa Barbara News-Press, for "Freedom at Last: the Gary Mogensen Story," a four-part series about a man whose conviction for molesting his stepdaughter was reversed 11 years later.

Legal newspaper

Gold Medallion -- Charley Roberts, Philip Carrizosa, Mike Lewis and Philip Hager, San Francisco Daily Journal, for "On Trial -- Reforming the Criminal Process," a four-part look at calls for criminal trial reform following the O.J. Simpson trial.

Silver Medallion -- Thom Mrozek and Stephanie Francis Cahill,

Los Angeles Daily Journal, for "Beating," the revelation that an attorney representing an illegal immigrant beaten in a Riverside County chase was not licensed to practice in California


Gold Medallion -- Maia Krache, KQED-FM: The California Report (San Francisco)," for "The California Supreme Court -- Death Penalty and Beyond," a look at some cases before the state's high court.

Silver Medallion -- Gail Eichenthal, Michael Ambrosini and Ronnie Bradford, KNX Newsradio (Los Angeles), for "Summer in the City: Simpson on Trial," the station's live trial coverage.

Special Merit Award -- George Riley and Chuck Cooper, KSDO-Radio (San Diego), for "Who's Protect-ing Our Children?" an examination of the dependency system, and George Riley, Chuck Cooper and Ken Kramer, KSDO-Radio, for "Race and Justice," a 40-minute documentary, including man on the street interviews and interviews with a prosecutor and a defense lawyer.


Gold Medallion -- Elissa Rubin and Darryl Holdaway, KGO-TV (San Francisco), "Underground Railroad," the story of a network of people who help young African-American men escape poverty and crime.

Silver Medallion -- Marti Emerald, JW August and Jeff Barrett, KGTV-TV (San Diego), for "Troubleshooter," a story about an underground anti-government court system.