News Release

The Hon. Milton Hirsch Receives the Judicial Recognition Award from Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar

Washington, DC (Aug. 8, 2023) – Judge Milton Hirsch of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida received the Judicial Recognition Award at NACDL’s board meeting in Chicago on August 5. NACDL presents its Judicial Recognition Award  to acknowledge judges who demonstrate a continuing dedication to protecting democratic principles and the fundamental rights of individuals within American society.

Hon. Milton Hirsch has been a judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida since January of 2011. He is also an adjunct professor of law at the University of Miami School of Law. In 2013, Judge Hirsch was the recipient of the Gerald Kogan Judicial Distinction Award, the highest award given to a member of the judiciary by the Miami Chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; in 2014, he was the recipient of the Theodore Klein award, the highest award conferred by the Miami Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers; in 2016, he received the Dade County Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Award; in 2017 the Miami Jewish Legal Society conferred the Shofet Tzedek (“righteous judge”) award upon him; and in 2018 he received the Jay and Marilyn Weinberg Rule of Law Award at the annual Project Nuremberg event sponsored by the South Palm Beach County Bar Association, Lynn University, and Temple Beth El.

In 2023 Judge Hirsch was the recipient of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Judicial Distinction Award – the first Florida statecourt judge so honored in a quarter-century. After graduating from Georgetown University Law Center, Judge Hirsch worked in the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office, rising to the position of assistant chief of narcotics prosecution. In January of 1987 he entered private practice. He was routinely listed in Best Lawyers in America, Florida Super Lawyers, Top 250 Criminal Lawyers in South Florida, and other like-kind publications.

For a dozen years Judge Hirsch authored Hirsch’s Florida Criminal Trial Procedure, considered the leading treatise of its kind. He was also formerly the co-author, with Hon. Martin Kahn, of the Criminal Bench Guide for Florida Circuit Judges. He has written numerous law review articles and three novels: The Shadow of Justice, (winner of the Midwestern Independent Publishers Award for best novel in the mystery/fiction category, and runner-up for the Benjamin Franklin Award for best new voice in American fiction); Laredo Slider; and The Wheel of Justice.

“The award is presented in appreciation of Judge Hirsch’s judicial courage, and among other things, declaring Florida’s death penalty statute unconstitutional, rejecting efforts by the state of Florida to unlawfully prosecute the formerly incarcerated for exercising their right to vote, and for his life-long commitment to educating the criminal defense bar,” said NACDL Immediate Past President Nellie L. King. “There’s not a more honorable or deserving master presiding over our courts than Judge Hirsch.”

Speaking to the NACDL Board of Directors, Judge Hirsch stated: “I would love to be able to tell you that my generation and I will leave America freer and more just than we found it, but that would be a cruel lie. My generation and I will be the first since what Mark Twain dubbed ‘The Gilded Age’ to leave this country less free and less just than we found it. So I am not ready for my story to have an ending. I have time, I have some time. And I have you. You are the light that shows that the torch of freedom still burns.”


Jessie Diamond, Public Affairs and Communications Associate, (202) 465-7647 or

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.

Explore keywords to find information

Featured Products