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October 30, 2003

Lawyers to Honor Co-Founder of Program for Battered Women Defendants, Nov. 8

"I felt so alone after I was arrested. I sat in jail and just cried and cried... I was so glad when my lawyer contacted the National Clearinghouse. They helped him prepare my case and they also connected me with an advocate at the local battered women's program. The Clearinghouse was a great help."

Those are the words of an actual woman who was helped by a Philadelphia-based program founded in 1987 that provides critical assistance, resources and support to battered women who have killed or assaulted their accusers while attempting to protect themselves from life-threatening violence. The Philadelphia Bar Foundation, charitable arm of the Philadelphia Bar Association, will present its 2003 Louis D. Apothaker Award to Sue Osthoff, co-founder of the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women, the first and only organization of its kind in the nation on Saturday, Nov. 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the Commonwealth A Room on the 2nd floor of Loews Philadelphia Hotel at 1200 Market Street.

The Apothaker Award honors a non-lawyer or group of non-lawyers who have made an outstanding contribution to the cause of justice. The award will be presented by Apothaker Award Committee Chair Paul A. Tufano preceding the Foundation's gala Andrew Hamilton Ball.

Since 1987, the National Clearinghouse has grown into a major national resource, information and advocacy center. The Clearinghouse provides direct services to battered women defendants, members of their defense teams, expert witnesses and others. The Clearinghouse has responded to over 17,000 requests for information from all 50 states and has rendered direct technical assistance to defense teams in over 1,400 cases. The Clearinghouse has also created a national network of over 6,800 groups and individuals committed to justice for battered women, assisted clemency organizing efforts in 25 states, provided direct services to hundreds of battered women in prison and developed a resource bank of over 600 expert witnesses.

"We wish there were no need for an organization like ours," says Osthoff, now director of the Clearinghouse. "But the need for our services is greater than ever."

The Apothaker Award comes with a check for $5,000 from the Bar Foundation. The Foundation funds law-related public interest programs that help those who need but cannot afford legal services.

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