Pubdate: Tue,  6 Jan 2004
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Copyright: 2004 Amarillo Globe-News
Author: Greg Cunningham
Bookmark: (Tulia, Texas)


Blackburn in Texans of Note

He may not be as Bootylicious as Beyonce or as hard as The Hammer, but 
Amarillo attorney Jeff Blackburn has made the list of Texans of Note. 
Blackburn said Monday that he is honored to be on The Dallas Morning News 
list, although he's a bit puzzled to be joined with such Texas dignitaries 
as Beyonce Knowles and Tom "The Hammer" DeLay.

"I guess they're not giving recognition based on political fidelity or good 
looks," said the bespectacled, proudly liberal attorney. "Maybe they gave 
it to me because they needed someone who didn't look like Beyonce, and 
didn't hew to the current trend in Texas politics."

Blackburn is one of 24 people recognized by the Morning News as a Texan of 
Note. The list was topped this year by President George Bush, who won the 
first title of Texan of the Year.

Keven Ann Willey, editorial page editor for the Morning News, said the list 
was determined by a variety of criteria. Blackburn's choice likely was 
based on the criteria of showing an independent streak and staring down 
adversity, which was amply demonstrated when he helped get the convictions 
of 46 people overturned from the Tulia drug bust, she said.

"There is definitely that, but you could also use the making news 
(criterion)," Willey said. "The Tulia case was national news for a long time."

The competition kicked off in November when readers of the Morning News 
were asked to nominate a Texan of the Year, and more than 500 names flooded 
in. The numbers were winnowed down until the editorial board made the final 
decision, with Bush coming out on top.

The rest of the finalists were lumped together into a Texans of Note category.

Blackburn said it felt good to win the award - one of many to come to him 
from his Tulia work - but it also felt a little uncomfortable.

"It's a great award, but it feels stange to receive his kind of recognition 
sometimes," Blackburn said. "I and a lot of other lawyers just did what we 
were clearly supposed to do in Tulia. As it turned out, we won the case, 
and now there's a tendency to want to make the contribution bigger than it 
was. We were just doing our duty to see that justice was done."
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