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Champion of Public Defense Award

About the Award

The Champion of Public Defense Award recognizes an individual or group for exceptional efforts in making positive changes to a local, county, state, or federal public defense system. Although the outstanding direct, individual representation of every defendant is one of NACDL's foremost goals, this award is intended to highlight efforts toward systemic advances through legislation, litigation, or other strategies.1 

 1 The award was named the Champion of Indigent Defense Award until February 20, 2016.

Past Recipients


2019 Civil Rights Corps Washington, DC
2019 San Francisco Public Defender’s Office San Francisco, CA
2016 Alexander Bunin Houston, TX
2013 Bruce Jacob Gulfport, FL
2011 Justice Michael Cherry Carson City, NV
2011 Bennett H. Brummer Miami, FL
2009 Robert L. Spangenberg Boston, MA
2008 Marshal J. Hartman Chicago, IL
2007 Erwin W. Lewis Frankfort, KY
2006 Robert Boruchowitz Seattle, WA
2005 Prof. Norman Lefstein Indianapolis, IN
2004 Patricia Puritz Washington, DC
2003 Gary Parker Columbus, GA
2002 Norman L. Reimer New York, NY
2001 Mary Ann Tally Fayetteville, NC

Nominate a Possible Recipient

To nominate a group or individual, please provide a short [1-2 page] summary of: the problems that existed in the relevant public defense system, the efforts made by the nominee to improve the system (i.e., coalitions formed, legislation proposed, task forces created, litigation efforts, etc.), the number of years the nominee has been involved in efforts to improve public defense, a brief history of the nominee's career, and the changes that have been made in the system as a result of the nominee's efforts.

Supplemental materials - such as brochures, reports, or news articles - also may be included. Unlimited letters of support may be submitted.

It is not necessary that the nominee be a lawyer; nonlawyer advocates and reformers will be considered. 

Nominations must be postmarked or emailed by June 10, 2019, and sent to: NACDL® Champion of Public Defense Award, Attn: Bonnie Hoffman, 1660 L Street NW, 12th Floor, Washington, DC 20036 or bhoffman@nacdl.org (subject line: Champion of Public Defense Award).

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