For the third straight year, Women in Federal Law Enforcement will award one of its highest honors to a lawyer in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The group has tapped special litigation counsel Kristy Parker, a senior attorney in the division’s Criminal Section, to receive the 2009 Top Prosecutor Award for successfully prosecuting three Kentucky jailers who placed an 18-year-old man arrested for a traffic violation in a jail cell with inmates who assaulted and raped him, the Justice Department announced today.
The jury convicted two corrections officers, Shawn Freeman and Wesley Lanham, of conspiracy, aiding and abetting a civil rights violation, and falsifying records. A third corrections officer, Clinton Shawn Sydnor, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and deprivation of rights. All were given lengthy prison sentences.
The victim was arrested on Valentine’s Day in 2003 and taken to the Grant County, Ky., Detention Center, where he was led down a row of cells as inmates yelled, “He’s such a cutie!”; “Bring him to me!”; and “Happy Valentine’s Day!” The jailers told the victim that he would make someone a “good girlfriend” and announced to the other inmates that they needed to "teach him a lesson," according to court records. They deposited him in an isolated part of the jail, where he was left alone for hours. Click here for a copy of the indictment.
Parker has served in the Justice Department for a decade and has been a trial attorney in the Criminal Section for six years. She will be presented the award during a June 17 ceremony in Tucson, Ariz.
“Kristy Parker represents the tenacious spirit and extraordinary commitment of the many fine career attorneys who serve the public interest at the Justice Department. Her tireless and extraordinary litigative ability vindicated the civil rights of the victim,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King said in the statement.
Last year, deputy chief Paige Fitzgerald of the Civil Rights Division received the award for successfully prosecuting former Ku Klux Klansman James Ford Seale for the racially motivated killings of two black men in Mississippi more than 40 years earlier. The group named deputy chief Bobbi Bernstein top prosecutor in 2007 for being the first to use federal criminal civil rights statutes to prosecute members of a traditional street gang.