Barbara Oakley, as guardian for Richard Danziger, v the City of Austin, Travis County, and the State of Texas
Once in a lifetime, a lawyer gets the case he went to law school for. In 2002, Jeff Edwards began representing Richard Danziger, an inmate who had been wrongfully imprisoned in the Texas prison system as a result of a coerced confession. Tragically, while in jail, Richard was kicked in the head with steel-toed boots and suffered brain damage. As a consequence, Jeff filed suit on Richard’s behalf in federal court in Austin, Texas. After the Judge denied the defendants’ various motions to dismiss the case, Jeff obtained one of the largest civil rights settlements in the nation. ($6.95 million to Richard Danziger).
Jeff has remained close with Richard and his guardian, Barbara Oakley, and sees them when they return to Texas. While no amount of money can ever restore Richard to his condition before he was imprisoned and suffered a brain injury, he now has 24-hour care, access to the best doctors and is able to garden and play with his dog, and travel whenever he likes. In fact, Richard just took his entire family to Australia.
For more information about this compelling and tragic case, please feel free to view the numerous videos and articles dedicated to discussing this injustice and its aftermath. None, however, mean as much as the framed letter Jeff received from Richard’s guardian after the settlement became final.
“Richard is doing very well. He has several trips planned in the future and he is starting to pick out different items he likes for his home. He enjoys his dog, Blackjack. Richard honestly never thought that he would ever see the outside walls of Sky View Prison, but due to each of your efforts, he is able to plan and try different things. Richard tells us on a daily basis that there is nothing better than being FREE. Time has passed, and even though we don’t have constant contact with each of you, you are in our thoughts and prayers and we can’t thank you enough for the part you played in getting Richard to this point… Thank you for your continuing support and many thanks.”