Palm Beach, FL (Aug. 11, 2016) – Harris County Chief Public Defender Alexander Bunin was presented with the Champion of Public Defense Award by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at its 59th Annual Meeting in Palm Beach, FL, on August 11. The Champion of Public Defense Award recognizes an individual for exceptional efforts in making positive changes to a local, county, state, or national public defense system.
NACDL President E.G. "Gerry" Morris said: "Alex Bunin exemplifies the best of our profession. His distinguished career is marked with example after example of his enduring dedication to providing the highest quality representation to those without means to employ counsel. Everywhere he has been, he has been instrumental in providing outstanding representation for his clients, training other lawyers to do the same, and either establishing or improving the public defender organizations. He is truly deserving of the title, Champion of Public Defense."
Bunin has been a criminal defense lawyer for more than 30 years and has tried numerous cases ranging from federal capital murder to complex white collar fraud. He started his career in Houston at a private practice for seven years where he often represented clients pro bono. He then became the Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Eastern District of Texas in Beaumont for two years. Bunin helped establish the federal defender organization in the Southern District of Alabama in Mobile in 1995, which provided legal education to federal defenders. Bunin was then appointed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to establish Federal Public Defender offices in the districts of Northern New York and Vermont in 1999. Bunin also helped convince the districts to allow broad discovery rights to criminal defendants.
Bunin served 12 years as the Federal Public Defender in Northern New York, where he received the New York City Bar Association's Thurgood Marshall Award. In 2010, Bunin was appointed to be the first Chief Public Defender for Harris County, TX, which prior to his arrival did not have a state public defender office of any kind. Bunin received the 2012 Torch of Liberty Award from the Harris Country Criminal Lawyers Association for his continued devotion to public defense. In addition to his work in the criminal defense field, he was an Adjunct Professor at Albany Law School of Union University from 2003-10, where he taught trial advocacy.
Bunin currently serves on NACDL's Rules and Fourth Amendment Advocacy committees and sits on the Advisory Board of NACDL's magazine, The Champion. He received his J.D. from South Texas College of Law and A.B. from Bowdoin College.
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