Shelby's Social Diary
Attorney Neal Manne takes a bow at record Anti-Defamation League lunch, talksAnthony Graves case
The Anti-Defamation League's Jurisprudence Award luncheon at the Hyatt Regency was befitting of a 25th anniversary not only for the individual honored — Neal Manne — but also for the record proceeds of more than $625,000, more than double ADL's initial fundraising goal.
Manne was presented the Karen H. Susman Jurisprudence Award for his career that has exemplified the principles of ADL, which are striving for justice and fairness. Manne's colleague at Susman Godfrey, Parker Folse provided the introduction of the honoree saying "Neal is someone who instinctively reacts when he sees someone being mistreated, when he sees discrimination . . . He simply does something about it."
In that vein, Manne addressed the case of former death row inmate Anthony Graves, who was wrongly convicted of six murders in Burleson County in 1994. Graves was in the luncheon audience as was University of St. Thomas journalism instructor and attorney Nicole Casarez, who took up the case with her journalism students. He lauded Casarez and attorney Katherine Scardino, who worked on the case, and special prosecutor Kelly Siegler, who was assigned to convict Graves but who instead declared his innocence and dropped all charges.
Manne used the case as an example of the justice system gone wrong but then righted by "three lawyers working within the system, with a keen sense of justice and fairness."
The impressive turnout included a number of prominent individuals in attendance that Manne thanked as having encouraged him in his career including his wife, Nancy McGregor. Manne also pointed to retired U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge William Norris for whom Manne clerked; Arlen Specter, the former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania for whom Manne served as chief of staff and counsel; University of Texas president Bill Powers; UT law school dean Larry Sager and Manne's co-workers at Susman Godfrey in particular Steve Susman.
The luncheon was chaired by ADL board members Ian Scharfman and Jessica Mason. Harry Susman, son of the late Karen H. Susman, served as honorary chair. Applauding the luncheon's success was ADL Southwest Regional director Martin B. Cominsky.