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Raising the bar

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News Hits is happy to report that two of our favorite attorneys have just been recognized for their outstanding work. Kary Moss, executive director of American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, and Rudy A. Serra, a Detroit attorney who is a trustee for the gay-activist Triangle Foundation, were among 10 recently designated Lawyers of the Year 2000 by the publication Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

Serra was selected for his work regarding what he calls “bag a fag” cases in Michigan. Most notably, he was able to have charges dismissed against a man arrested for allegedly having unpaid oral sex with another man at a private, gay men’s health club in Detroit. Had the felony charge not been dismissed, the man would have been forced to register with the state as a sex offender.

“It’s not a crime to be gay in Michigan,” Serra told the magazine. Unfortunately, Serra added, he sees no shortage of judicial bias against gays.

“The attitude, the discrimination, the overt bigotry is palpable,” he said. “It’s appalling to me that anyone could be on the bench (these days) and harbor those kinds of attitudes against gay people. Unfortunately, that is not unique.”

Moss, formerly executive director of the Maurice and Jane Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice, is described by MLW as downright quixotic.

“Much like Don Quixote, Moss and her staff have been on a crusade this year,” declared the article. “However, instead of fighting imaginary enemies and monsters, they have been up against cities, schools, the attorney general and Gov. John Engler.”

The civil liberties group has also taken on drug testing of welfare recipients, standardized school testing programs, school vouchers and Internet censorship.

In a Q&A with Moss, reporter Karen M. Poole noted, “When I look through the ACLU materials that Lawyers Weekly has collected during the past year all I can say is, ‘Wow.’ Do you ever sleep?”

“I woke up at 3:00 this morning and started working on a project,” replied Moss. “It’s hard to gauge how much I work. My staff and myself work very hard — it’s a labor of love.”

Congratulations to Serra and Moss. Both are wonderfully deserving of the honor. To read their profiles, as well those of the other eight attorneys recognized by the mag, go to www.michiganlawyersweekly.com.

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette, the Metro Times news editor. Call 313-202-8004 or e-mail cguyette@metrotimes.com

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