Atty. Zena Crenshaw-Logal*
Judicial Misconduct Whistleblower
Prior to her full time work as a good government and grassroots reform advocate beginning in 1998, Zena D. Crenshaw-Logal practiced general civil law. Primarily she was a civil trial attorney, prosecuting complex personal injury claims. Zena also regularly represented and otherwise advised small to medium for profit as well as nonprofit clients.
Today Zena pursues a new passion as Executive Director of National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project, Inc. (NJCDLP), which sponsors National Forum On Judicial Accountability (NFOJA); POPULAR (Power Over Poverty Under Laws of America Restored); and OAK (Organizations Associating for the Kind of Change America Really Needs).
Primarily Zena is a judicial reform advocate, though the various groups she helps administer collectively pursue civil and criminal justice system reforms and represent housing, health, and education advocates as well as work related activists. Her personal legal difficulties began when as a sole practitioner, Zena tried to expand industry-wide liability for brand-name prescription drug manufacturers in the mid-90s. She filed a corresponding lawsuit for a then 7 year old Hispanic girl who nearly died from Stevens Johnson Syndrome. The case was dismissed on all counts and both Zena and her indigent client were initially ordered to pay the multi-billion dollar, brand-name prescription drug manufacturer/defendant more than $14,000 in legal fees for purportedly bringing frivolous claims against it. This sanction became a springboard for questioning the fairness and impartiality of the local legal establishment.
For strategical reasons, Zena's judicial system challenges began as alleged race and gender-based bias. However, her local base of support soon evolved into an inter-racial coalition of Indiana residents, many of whom seemed to have been denied due process and equal protection for a variety of reasons. Their public outcry likely helped get the referenced drug case sanction set aside against Zena and her client, but Zena subsequently became persona non grata among the local legal establishment. Her public criticism of the entire episode persisted, and she was eventually suspended from all but the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, supposedly for 30 days.
Even the terms for Zena's return to law practice were bogged down with what she contends are constitutional infirmities. She wrote and was substantially vindicated by a law review article casting considerable doubt on the legitimacy of her bar suspension and published by the prestigious American Journal of Trial Advocacy: “The Official End of Judicial Accountability Through Federal Rights Litigation: Ashcroft v. Iqbal”, 35 Am. J. Trial Advoc. 125 (Summer 2011). Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court essentially endorsed the theory of liability that Zena advanced against the referenced brand-name prescription drug manufacturer in the course of quietly exonerating a generic drug manufacturer.
Zena is author of Exploring the Vitality of Stare Decisis in America. Boca Raton: Universal Publishers, 2012, and is expected to publish a sequel to that book in 2014. Upon entering the University of Notre Dame at Notre Dame, Indiana in 1977, Zena was a National Merit, Notre Dame, and Indiana State Scholar. She graduated from the university in 1981 with a dual major in English and Philosophy. She subsequently entered and graduated in 1984 from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago, Illinois, distinguished as an Earl Warren Scholar. A summer session of Zena's legal education was completed at the Notre Dame Law Centre in London, England.
*Bar admissions limited to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit