Ballard Spahr Chair Mark S. Stewart has presented the 2012 Alan J. Davis award to the Daniel Dougherty Capital Defense team, led by partners David S. Fryman and Shannon D. Farmer, for their ongoing pro bono work challenging Mr. Dougherty’s conviction and death sentence.

The team began representing Mr. Dougherty in 2004, three years after he was convicted and sentenced to death for the arson murder of his two young sons. With Mr. Dougherty steadfastly maintaining his innocence, Ballard Spahr attorneys developed evidence that the “expert” testimony used at the first trial was based on discredited scientific theories. In the past year, the team’s efforts have won both a new hearing for Mr. Dougherty and commutation of his death sentence to life in prison. A decision on his petition for a new trial is expected this summer. Since 2004, more than 50 Ballard Spahr lawyers and paralegals have donated more than 8,000 hours of pro bono legal work to Mr. Dougherty’s defense.

The Alan J. Davis Award is named for the late City Solicitor and distinguished Ballard Spahr litigator whose dedication to public service was equally strong. The award carries a $25,000 prize, which is donated to the charity of the winners’ choice.

“The Davis award recognizes Alan's enduring legacy of the finest lawyering being brought to bear for social good,” Mr. Stewart said. “The Dougherty team has shown that dedication and first-rate legal representation make a difference. In this case, the team saved a man's life, and hopes yet to win him a new trial. That level of commitment to pro bono service and legal excellence is not unusual at Ballard Spahr. It happens every day.”

The 2012 Alan J. Davis Award was donated equally to the Pennsylvania Capital Representation Project and the Pennsylvania Innocence Project.