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Nominations sought for two criminal defense attorney awards

The deadlines are approaching for nominations for two prestigious awards for criminal defense lawyers presented by the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office.

Nominations are being sought for The Award for Excellence in Indigent Adult Representation in Family Court and the Jeffrey A. Jacobs (Jacobs) Award.

Award for Excellence in Indigent Adult Representation recognizes an attorney who practices in Monroe County Family Court and who, in the previous two years, displayed exceptional  dedication to his or her indigent, adult clients, excellent advocacy skills, and superior knowledge of the law.

The attorney must have represented one or more indigent adult clients in a custody/visitation, child support, abuse or neglect, or termination of parental rights case.

The  award  is  also  open  to appellate attorneys who represent adult, indigent appellants or respondents in New York State appellate  courts,  and  who, in the  previous  two years displayed exceptional dedication to his or her clients, excellent advocacy skills, and superior knowledge of the law in an appeal from a custody/visitation, child support, abuse or neglect, or termination of parental rights case.

To nominate an attorney for this award, send a letter and supporting documentation to Timothy P. Donaher, Monroe County Public Defender, 10 N. Fitzhugh St., Rochester, N.Y., 14614.  Nomination letters may also be emailed to: tdonaher@monroecounty.gov.

Explain in the letter why you believe the attorney merits consideration for the  award, and provide non-confidential details regarding specific cases where you believe the attorney displayed exceptional dedication to his or her indigent, adult clients, excellent advocacy skills, and superior knowledge of the law.

Should you make reference to specific cases, please provide the names of opposing counsel, attorney for the child and the judge.

All submissions will be reviewed by an awards committee consisting of Family Court judges and attorneys for the child.

Nominations are due by Oct. 6. The award will be presented at the 2017 Defense Community Dinner on Oct. 21.

The Jeffrey A. Jacobs Award is presented in memory of Jeffrey Alan Jacobs, a career public defender and an outstanding attorney who fiercely advocated for his clients.

Jacobs tried more than 100 felony cases. Many of his trials were complex cases requiring familiarity with novel scientific theories and the development of effective trial strategies. In addition, Jacobs was a role model and mentor for younger assistant public defenders who generously shared his time and offered encouragement.

His dedication to clients, perseverance, against overwhelming odds and commitment to a fair justice system were an inspiration to the defense community.  Jacobs died in November 2006 after an eight month battle with brain cancer.

The Jacobs Award was created in 2010 to recognize a criminal defense attorney who exemplifies a commitment to justice and who has performed outstanding trial work in the preceding year.

The award also is presented at the annual Defense Community Dinner.

The nominee must be an attorney who practices criminal defense in the greater Rochester area, and who has engaged in outstanding criminal defense trial work in the area within the last year.

The winner will be selected on the basis of the complexity of the cases tried, which may include the effective use of experts and litigating forensic or scientific issues; fearless advocacy on behalf of the client; and/or creativity demonstrated in the presentation of the defense.

A nominating letter and supporting materials should be mailed or emailed to the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office, Attn: Jill Paperno, First Assistant Public Defender, 10 N. Fitzhugh St., Rochester, N.Y. 14614.

All nominations must be submitted by Oct. 2. Those submitting nominations are encouraged to provide some background information about the attorney and the cases for which the attorney is being nominated.

The selection of the recipient is made by a committee which will review all submissions.

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