Attorney Andrew “Andy” Crowder Secures Outstanding Result for Pro Bono Client – Court Agrees 125-Year-Old Pardon Statute Is Unconstitutional

After successfully winning an appeal before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, Attorney Andrew “Andy” Crowder secured another victory for his pro bono client Amreya Shefa. On April 20, a Minnesota court concluded that Minnesota’s 125-year-old pardon statute is unconstitutional.

“The unconstitutional statute made Minnesota the only state in the country that required a unanimous vote from a governing body to grant a pardon, and resulted in Minnesota lagging behind every other state in the number of pardons granted each year,” said Crowder. “This is a critical ruling for Ms. Shefa and for everyone seeking redemption and access to justice. And an important step towards reform in Minnesota.”

Facing a continued threat of deportation and harm in her native Ethiopia, Ms. Shefa sought a pardon. Had the unconstitutional statute remained the law, Ms. Shefa’s deportation would be the most likely end to this story. The Court’s ruling offers Ms. Shefa and her legal team the ability to seek review of her pardon application – which was only denied because of the unconstitutional unanimity requirement – and to keep her safe in Minnesota. Ms. Shefa’s case has received broad media attention.

About Andrew “Andy” Crowder

While Andy Crowder focuses his national practice on product liability defense and commercial litigation, he maintains an active pro bono practice. He has represented pro bono litigants in state and federal courts across the country, including before the Eighth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals. Andy’s passion for serving others began before law school. He was an elementary school teacher with Teach for America in Chicago; has served as a tutor for elementary, middle-school, and high school students; and recently worked as a history and social studies mentor for students from Cristo Rey High School in Minneapolis.

About Blackwell Burke P.A.

Blackwell Burke P.A. is a certified minority-owned trial firm that represents corporate clients in high-stakes class actions, mass torts, MDLs and commercial litigation, both at trial and on appeal. The firm has been repeatedly recognized as one of the top litigation defense firms in the country by BTI, Chambers, Best Lawyers and others. Benchmark Litigation has named Blackwell Burke Minnesota Firm of the Year for the past five consecutive years.