Inmate-rights case lawyers honored

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque attorneys Matt Coyte, presidentelect of the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, and co-counsel, Jack Jacks, have been awarded the Trial Attorney of the Year award by Public Justice for their representation of Steven Slevin, who was held in the Doña Ana County Detention Center in New Mexico in solitary confinement for 22 months.

Coyte and Jacks, selected from many nominees nationally, were announced as winners at the awards dinner in San Francisco this week.

A U.S. District Court jury initially awarded Slevin $22 million, one of the largest prisoner civil rights awards in U.S. history. The case was settled before an appeal was taken to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Public Justice presents the award to honor someone who takes on “David and Goliath battles” and whose advocacy skills “breathe life into the rights of individuals and groups that have suffered injustice and harmful abuses.”

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