Washington, DC (Aug. 15, 2016) – New York City attorney Rick Jones has been chosen as the 2016 recipient of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers' (NACDL) Robert C. Heeney Memorial Award. He received the award at the Association's annual membership meeting on August 13 in Palm Beach, FL. This highly prestigious honor is presented annually to the NACDL member who best demonstrates the goals and values of the Association and of the legal profession. Rick was also installed as NACDL's President Elect at NACDL's annual board meeting.
NACDL's Immediate Past President E.G. "Gerry" Morris said: "Rick's tireless service to the criminal defense bar is only matched by his unwavering commitment to his clients. His passionate work both around the United States and in countries abroad has inspired those around him to join in championing the fight for a more just and equitable public defense system. In all of his work, Rick embodies the values and goals of NACDL. I am incredibly pleased to present Rick with this year's Robert C. Heeney Memorial Award, an honor that is supremely well-deserved."
Rick currently practices criminal defense in New York City, where he is the Executive Director and a founding member of the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (NDS). NDS has gained national and international recognition for its innovative, holistic, community-based approach to public defense. NDS combines criminal defense work with the services of civil, family, and immigration attorneys, social workers, advocates, investigators, and others to meet the needs of its clients. Rick teaches the criminal defense externship at Columbia Law School as well as a trial practice course. He also serves on the faculty of the National Criminal Defense College in Macon, GA.
During his many years of service to NACDL, Rick has co-chaired NACDL's Public Defense committee and the Task Force on Problem-Solving Courts. He currently serves as co-chair of the Task Force on the Restoration of Rights and Status After Conviction, and he is a member of the State Legislative Affairs and Budget committees. Rick also serves as the NACDL representative to the National Task Force on Fines, Fees and Bail Practices. Through his work at NACDL, Rick has traveled to every region of the country, as well as abroad to Liberia, promoting fairness, equality, and justice for the poor and indigent. In 2014, Rick received NACDL's Champion of Justice Award, which recognizes individuals who devote their time to ensuring justice and due process for the accused.
Rick sits on the boards of the New York State Bar Association Criminal Justice Section Executive Committee, the New York State Defenders Association (NYSDA), and the Sirius Foundation. He is also a member of the inaugural steering committee of the National Association for Public Defense (NAPD), and he has been engaged with the Brennan Center for Justice's Community Oriented Defender Network and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. He was appointed by the governor of New York to be a member of the Council on Community Re-Entry and Reintegration, and he also serves on the Editorial Board of the Amsterdam News. He is recently returned from Kathmandu, Nepal, where he worked to help build the defense function into their newly created constitutional government.
Rick completed his bachelor's degree at the University of Michigan and earned his law degree at the Rutgers University School of Law.
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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.