LAURELS: Dean Kevin R. Johnson, ‘Defensor de Justicía’

Dean Kevin R. Johnson, environmental portrait
Dean Kevin R. Johnson, recipient of the 2018 Defensor de Justicía (Defender of Justice) award from Sacramento’s Cruz Reynoso Bar Association.

Quick Summary

  • “Defender of Justice” award given by Cruz Reynoso Bar Association of Sacramento
  • Lisa Pruitt elected to American Law Institute, joining 16 other law school faculty and emeriti
  • Professor Premkumar T. Devanbu named a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery
  • Bill Buchanan, writer-editor for IET, wins award for his “Davisville” public affairs radio show

Sacramento’s Latino/a bar association recently presented its 2018 Defensor de Justicía (Defender of Justice) award to Kevin R. Johnson, dean of the School of Law, in recognition of his contributions in immigration law.

The association called itself La Raza Lawyers until a name change in 2016 to the Cruz Reynoso Bar Association, honoring the civil rights icon and retired jurist who is a colleague of Johnson’s on the UC Davis law school faculty. Reynoso is a professor emeritus.

The Cruz Reynoso Bar Association gave its first Defensor de Justicía award last year, to Xavier Becerra, attorney general of California.

Johnson is the Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law and also a professor of Chicana/o studies. He is an internationally recognized scholar in the fields of immigration law and policy, refugee law, and civil rights.

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Lisa Pruitt mugshot

Professor Lisa Pruitt has been elected to the American Law Institute, widely considered the nation’s most important nongovernmental organization involved in legal reform.

With Pruitt’s election, the UC Davis School of Law counts 17 faculty and emeriti who are members of the institute — a distinct professional honor, in that membership is limited to 3,000. The association oversees projects that often form the basis of laws across the country and standards cited in judicial opinions, legal briefs and scholarly articles.

Pruitt, a Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Law, earned her juris doctor degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law and a doctorate in laws from the University of London.

Before joining the King Hall faculty in 1999, she worked abroad for almost a decade in settings ranging from international organizations to private practice. She worked with lawyers in more than 30 countries, negotiating cultural conflicts in several arenas.

Premkumar Devanbu mugshot

Professor Premkumar T. Devanbu of the Department of Computer Science has been named a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery. Fellows are selected on the basis of professional experience as well as significant achievements in the computing field. The association cited Devanbu for contributions to using software data and metadata to improve software tools and processes. Fellows comprise only 1 percent of the association’s worldwide membership. 

Devanbu joined the UC Davis faculty in 1998. He works in the area of software engineering and social analytics, and is co-director of the Davis Excellent/Eclectic/Extreme Computational Analytics Lab, or DECAL.

As a writer and editor in Information and Educational Technology, Bill Buchanan produces TechNews and other digital communications. In the community, on his own time, he goes old-school — hosting and producing a public affairs program on radio. His show is Davisville, and it recently earned a San Francisco Press Club award.

Bill Buchanan talks into microphone, in radio studio
Buchanan, host of "Davisville" on KDRT.

Buchanan, who launched his biweekly program on community radio station KDRT-LP 95.7 FM in 2008, shares the award with his brother Jim Buchanan, who handles sound for Davisville and works part-time for KDRT’s parent organization, Davis Media Access.

The Buchanan brothers earned second-place recognition in the Press Club’s Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards category for public affairs programs produced by staffs of no more than four people at noncommercial radio stations.

The award is for “A Remarkable Yolo County Turnaround Story” (original air date July 24, 2017), in which Dennis Cortopassi talks candidly about an event that landed him in Yolo County’s mental health court program, his graduation from the program, his recovery and his subsequent work to help others with mental illness.

The Press Club’s awards program recognizes journalism from 12 counties in or near the Bay Area, from Yolo to Monterey. The Buchanan brothers traveled to Burlingame for the club’s annual awards banquet, Nov. 15.

Davisville online: Listen to episodes past and present. The “Turnaround” episode is here.


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