California Lawyer magazine has named 57 attorneys around the state to receive the 18th annual California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year Awards for achievements which had a significant impact in 2013. The awards recognize 26 accomplishments in 19 areas of legal practice. The honored attorneys include prosecutors, public-interest lawyers, and attorneys from regional and international law firms.
Keker & Van Nest Partners Elliot Peters and Jo Golub won the pro bono category. They successfully petitioned the Alameda County Superior Court to overturn the wrongful conviction of their client, Ronald Ross, for premeditated attempted murder. Mr. Ross’s attorneys argued that newly discovered evidence and proof of false testimony at his original 2006 trial entitled him to a new trial. After three days of evidentiary hearings, the Alameda District Attorney Nancy O’Malley joined Mr. Ross’s petition asking the Court to set aside Mr. Ross’s conviction. On February 20, 2013, Alameda Superior Court Judge Jon Rolefson signed an order granting Mr. Ross’s habeas petition and vacating the prior convictions and sentence. On February 22, 2013, the Alameda District Attorney formally dismissed the charges, after which the court ordered Mr. Ross’s release from custody. Mr. Ross served nearly seven years of a 25 years to life sentence.
In addition to Jo Golub and Elliot Peters, Mr. Ross was represented pro bono by Keker & Van Nest attorneys Reid Mullen and David Rizk, as well as the Northern California Innocence Project and investigator Keith MacArthur.