Brian Stolarz Named Among the 2020 Washington DC Trailblazers by The National Law JournalSeptember 1, 2020 – Press Releases
Fox Rothschild LLP congratulates Brian W. Stolarz, who was named a 2020 Washington DC Trailblazer by The National Law Journal.
The nationally recognized distinction honors “agents of change…who have made significant marks on the practice, policy and technological advancement of their practice.”
Working pro bono for more than 13 years, Stolarz worked to exonerate Alfred Dewayne Brown, who was wrongfully convicted of murder in 2005 in the killing of a Houston police officer. Approached in 2007 to represent Brown in a habeas corpus appeal, Stolarz has worked around his busy private practice, traveling from DC to Houston dozens of times to interview witnesses and examine evidence. Convinced of Brown’s innocence, he and his team uncovered critical phone records that supported his client’s primary alibi, demonstrated that the grand jury pressured a key witness in the case to change her story and that the prosecutor withheld exculpatory evidence. In 2015, Brown was freed from prison and later, with continued support from Stolarz, was declared innocent in 2019.
“In the same courtroom where DeWayne was sentenced to die, he was declared actually innocent,” Stolarz told The National Law Journal in an interview. This triumph for justice was featured in the Netflix documentary series “The Innocence Files,” which premiered in April 2020.
Dismayed by the skewed grand jury system that failed Brown, Stolarz worked with a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist at the Houston Chronicle to expose the state’s “pick-a-pal” grand jury selection process, leading to 2015 legislation that reformed the system to require random, impartial grand jury selection. He continues to serve as local counsel in Brown’s civil case against Harris County, which seeks compensation for Brown for a decade lost behind bars, to disbar the former prosecutor and advocate for prosecutorial accountability legislation.
A criminal justice reform trailblazer, his deep convictions and tireless dedication produced transformational change in Brown’s life and in the Texas justice system.