November 01, 2017

Retired Illinois prosecutor Richard Schmack to receive ABA Norm Maleng Minister of Justice Award

WASHINGTON, Nov.1, 2017 — The American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section will honor retired prosecutor Richard H. Schmack of DeKalb County, Ill., with its Norm Maleng Minister of Justice Award on Friday, Nov. 3 in Washington, D.C.

The award, which recognizes prosecutors who embody the principle “to seek justice, not merely to convict,” will be presented during the 2017 CJS Tenth Annual Fall Institute’s CJS Awards Luncheon at the Westin Washington Hotel. 

“We honor Richard Schmack with the Norm Maleng Minister of Justice Award as he has consistently displayed a passion for justice throughout his career,” said Morris “Sandy” Weinberg, chair of the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section. “Richard helped establish the Mental Health Court in DeKalb County. This, among many other accomplishments, demonstrates his commitment to justice and we honor that commitment.”

Beginning in 1980, Schmack worked as a Macon County assistant state’s attorney in Decatur, Ill., and later as a DeKalb County assistant state’s attorney.  He later became the civil assistant, representing the county in lawsuits in federal and state courts and acting as legal advisor to all departments of county government.  He left the state’s attorney’s office in 1988 to open a private practice in Sycamore, Ill. Immediately prior to his election as DeKalb County state’s attorney in 2012, his practice was primarily concentrated in criminal defense, consumer bankruptcy, real estate, and land use law.  He served as Dekalb County state’s attorney until December 1, 2016. Schmack was most recently employed, on a short-term basis, as an assistant state’s attorney in Effingham County, Ill., from February through May of 2017, when he retired from public service.

He received his undergraduate degree from North Central College in Naperville, Ill., in 1977 and received his J.D. from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 1980.  He is a member of the Illinois Bar, the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, and the U.S. District Court Trial Bar.  His article, “Unmaking a Murderer: The Prosecutor’s Duty to Remedy Wrongful Convictions,” was published in the 2017 Northern Illinois University Law Review.

Schmack will share the award with co-honoree Robert A. Zauzmer, assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Click here for a photo of Schmack.

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