The University of Alabama School of Law is pleased to announce Judge David Crosland is the 2014 Profile in Service.
Each year during Pro Bono Celebration Month, which is recognized nationally in October, the
Law School honors outstanding alumni who have made significant contributions to public service.
Crosland, a 1966 graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law, has led a distinguished career in public service — beginning with his time as a law student.
While in law school, Judge Crosland conducted research on election procedures in Greene County, Alabama, to assist the national Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He also served as president of the University’s Young Democrats, and in that capacity, invited the first African American speaker ever to address a student organization.
In his early career in the 1960s, Judge Crosland served with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He was part of a team of lawyers that investigated and tried cases involving the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi, including one case against Klansmen accused of killing three civil rights workers in Neshoba County, Mississippi. During that time, Judge Crosland also monitored voting discrimination and desegregation in schools, and observed civil rights demonstrations where there was a heightened threat of Klan violence. He was sent to Detroit during two major riots in 1967 and 1968, and was involved in the prosecution of a white Detroit policeman and National Guardsman for killing three people. Judge Crosland went on to direct the Atlanta Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, organizing lawyers from Atlanta’s biggest firms to take on pro bono cases involving discrimination.
He later served as General Counsel and Acting Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), and created the Special Litigation Unit, which prosecuted Nazi war criminals. He headed the agency during the Iranian hostage crisis, and created a special program to assist members of religious minorities fleeing Iran after the revolution. In addition, he directed the INS during the Cuban boat lift in 1980, when more than 125,000 Cubans landed in Florida over the course of just six weeks, and supervised the opening of camps to assist in processing the newly-arrived immigrants.
Today, Judge Crosland sits as an immigration judge with the U.S. Department of Justice and hears cases in Baltimore, Maryland. He has previously served as a judge in San Diego, California; Miami, Florida; and Arlington, Virginia. Through his exemplary career in public service, Judge Crosland has worked to ensure that justice and the rule of law prevail in turbulent times, and that equality is upheld as an ideal for all Americans.
The School of Law is proud to count Judge David Crosland among its distinguished graduates.