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JUDGE, AUTHOR, DEATH PENALTY FOE
NAMED TO UK LAW HALL OF FAME

By Ralph Derickson

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The inductees are author and historian Harry Caudill, Circuit Judge James Chenault and attorney Stephen B. Bright.

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June 16, 2000 – (Lexington, Ky.) – The late Appalachian author and historian Harry Caudill; long-time Kentucky Circuit Judge James Chenault, and Stephen B. Bright, director of the Southern Center for Human Rights, were inducted, on Wednesday, June 14, into the University of Kentucky College of Law Hall of Fame.

The law school also bestowed one of its highest honors, the Henry R. Heyburn Award, on UK law graduate William E. Davis of San Francisco, Calif.  Davis, a principal with DPK Consulting in San Francisco, has specialized in helping foreign nations establish new judicial systems.  The countries in which he worked include Columbia, Chile, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Peru, Honduras, Pakistan and Palestine.

Soon after his UK law school graduation in 1972, Davis worked as director of the Administrative Office of the Courts in Kentucky.  Later, he was chief administration officer for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The awards ceremony was conducted at the Omni Netherland Plaza Hotel in Cincinnati and was presided over by Allan Vestal, the new dean of the UK College of Law.  Vestal begins his official duties at the university July 3.

Hall of Fame member Harry Caudill, who died in 1990, spent most of his 68 years in the eastern Kentucky town of Whitesburg.  He is best known for his extensive writings about the rugged Appalachian area where he lived.  Caudill's highly acclaimed book  "Night Comes to the Cumberlands" (1963) chronicled the effects of strip mining in eastern Kentucky.

In addition to his writing, Caudill practiced law for 28 years, served three terms in the Kentucky House of Representatives, and taught history at UK from 1976 to 1984.

Caudill graduated from the UK College of Law after his service in World War II where he saw action in the North African and Italian campaigns.

Judge James Chenault of Richmond has served as a circuit judge in Kentucky nearly four decades.  He also has written and lectured extensively on many legal topics including probation and parole, pre-trial release and many other topics, and has received many state awards for his innovative court work.

He was a member of the task force that did a preliminary study of the need for a new judicial article for the Kentucky Constitution and was the keynote speaker at the Kentucky Citizens Conference for Judicial Improvement in 1973 that launched the public campaign for judicial reform.

In 1981, his circuit court became the first in the nation to use videotape as an official court record.

The third new member of the Hall of Fame is law school graduate Stephen B. Bright, who was Student Government Association president at UK during his undergraduate years.

Bright, who has represented persons facing the death penalty at trial, on appeals and in post-conviction proceedings since 1979, has been director of the Southern Center for Human Rights since 1982.  The center is a public interest legal project based in Atlanta that provides legal representation to persons facing the death penalty and to prisoners challenging unconstitutional conditions in prisons and jails throughout the south.

He also teaches criminal law at Yale, Harvard and Emory law schools.

Bright has written extensively about the death penalty and has testified before committees of both houses of Congress and many state legislatures.   He received the American Bar Association's Thurgood Marshall Award in 1998, the Roger Baldwin Medal of Liberty presented in 1991 by the American Civil Liberties Union and many other awards.

The UK College of Law Hall of Fame was inaugurated in 1996 and now has 20 members.


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