Blog Archive

Blog Archive : October 2001

Jose Aspera posted a blog on Oct 25, 2001

Judge Awards $500,000 to Clevan Nicholson, Victim of Hate Crime


Clyde Murphy, Betsy Shuman-Moore, 312-630-974

Jack Block, 312-207-6486





Chicago, Wednesday, November 7, 2001 - Cook County Judge Jennifer Duncan-Brice awarded $500,000 in compensatory and punitive damages today to Clevan Nicholson, against Michael Kwidzinski, who, along with Frank Caruso and Victor Jasas, attacked Nicholson and Lenard Clark in March 1997 in Chicago’s Armour Square Park because they are African American.


Nicholson sued Caruso, Kwidzinski, and Jasas after Kwidzinski and Jasas pled guilty, and Caruso was found guilty in the attack on Nicholson and Lenard Clark in criminal court in 1998.


Nicholson has privately settled his claims with Jasas and Caruso. He is represented pro bono by the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc. and partner Jack Block of Sachnoff & Weaver, a Chicago Lawyers' Committee member law firm.


“We are very pleased by the judge’s award of damages to compensate our client, at least in part, although, of course, no amount of money can make up for experiencing such a hateful act,” said Block. Continuing, Block said, “This award sends a powerful message that this community will not tolerate senseless acts of violence and hatred.”


Commenting on the damages award, Clyde E. Murphy, Executive Director of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee, said: “Hate crime is discrimination at its most extreme. This judgment demonstrates that those who perpetrate hate crimes will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”


The Bias Violence Project of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee provides free legal representation to victims of hate crime, both in criminal prosecutions of offenders and in civil suits like this one by Mr. Nicholson. The Project also organizes community forums and trains law enforcement professionals in identifying and investigating hate crimes.


For 32 years, the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee, through its 40plus member law firms and staff legal team, has provided free legal services to challenge discrimination and other violations of civil rights in both the public and private sectors. For further information about the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee, contact Clyde E. Murphy, Executive Director, at the number above, or For information regarding the decision in the Nicholson case, contact Jack Block at the above number. For information about hate crime and the Bias Violence Project, contact Betsy Shuman-Moore, Project Director, at the above number or