10:1 Blackstone Award
Last night, I received a 10:1 Blackstone Award from the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (LACDL) at the 2022 Tate Banquet. It is nice to be back as a second-time winner, four years and one pandemic later.
I received this honor, named for Blackstone’s maxim of “better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer,” for multiple wins this year. 3 acquittals and 4 other wins (split or responsive verdicts) plus multiple dismissals of felonies and misdemeanors alike. Having heard the words “not guilty” three times this year alone was an immense morale booster after the pandemic’s long and hard road. Yet that road pales in comparison to some of my clients’ stories…
It is an honor to defend the Constitution and its guaranteed protections for the people of a democracy in a republic. I am proud to fight the good fight and leave it all on the field, or rather the courtroom. My work speaks for itself and I am happy to use my talent and experience in the service of my fellow brothers and sisters.
What an immense privilege to make a change in people’s lives. The law is one of the so called “learned professions,” but you must care deeply about what you do in order to put all of your self into the work. Love for your work is not something that is learned. It comes from within, like a spring from the earth. I love what I do and do what I love, as my fellow defender Letita Parker-Davis says. My purpose is leave the world a better place. My goal is to raise others up and fight for justice with the knowledge I am in it to give it my all, regardless of the outcome. Having a fire in my belly and a smile on my face, it can be David vs. Goliath at times, yet I shall do it with gusto—because if it was easy, everyone would do it.
December 10, 2022
New Orleans, Louisiana
Juan P. Bernal