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ABA Criminal Justice Section

Albert Krieger Champion of Liberty Award


This award was established to recognize defense attorneys who embody the principles enunciated in the ABA Standards for Criminal Justice, Defense Function. 

This award is in honor of the late Albert J. Krieger, who was the Section’s Chair from 2002 to 2003.  Krieger was the president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers from 1979 to 1980 and helped establish the National Criminal Defense College at Mercer University in 1985.  He also represented the NACDL in the ABA House of Delegates for many years and was considered one of the ABA's most respected voices on criminal justice issues.  

His clients ranged from corporate executives to notorious Mafia leaders,  but as documented in the New York Times on May 28, 2020, “he was proudest of having worked without a fee on behalf of the American Indian Movement members who occupied Wounded Knee, S.D., in 1973.”


The award will honor lawyers who have devoted a substantial portion of their legal careers to public or private criminal defense practice, whether state or federal, and who have distinguished themselves as criminal trial lawyers, embodied the principles enunciated in the ABA Standards for Criminal Justice, Defense Function, and made substantial contributions to improvement of the criminal justice system through the organized bar or non-governmental entities.


  • 2020 Neil Sonnett
  • 2021 ACLU of New Jersey
  • 2022 N/A
  • 2023 Derwyn Bunton


2024 Award Deadline – Nov. 30, 2024

Nominations should include:

  • the CJS Awards Nomination Form.
  • a letter addressing the selection criteria listed above.
  • the nominee’s resume.
  • any other supporting documentation of the nominee’s achievements in the criminal justice field.

Incomplete nomination packages will not be considered.  Should no qualified candidate be identified in a particular year the award will not be presented that year.

Nominations must be emailed to [email protected]