Washington, DC (August 5, 2003) -- James A.H. Bell, a criminal defense attorney in Knoxville, TN, was awarded the twenty-third Robert C. Heeney Memorial Award by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers at their 2003 Annual Meeting in Denver, CO, last week. Established in 1981 to honor NACDL’s 18th President Robert C. Heeney, the award is the most prestigious award given by the association and is awarded annually to one criminal defense attorney who best exemplifies the goals and values of the association and the legal profession.
The award was made by outgoing NACDL President Lawrence S. Goldman of New York, NY, with the advice and consent of a group of former Heeney recipients. When presenting the award, Goldman remarked that Bell had been the unanimous choice of the group. Upon receiving the award, a surprised Bell noted that the award was akin to being named to “an All-American team of criminal defense lawyers.”
A 1970 graduate of East Tennessee State University and a 1973 graduate of the University of Tennessee Law School, Bell has served in many capacities for NACDL, notably as a two-term member of its Board of Directors, and most recently as Parliamentarian for an unprecedented three years under three NACDL Presidents. Bell also served as president of the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, an NACDL affiliate, in 1983-84. Bell is an elected Fellow of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers and a founding member of the National College for DUI Defense.
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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 justice system.