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October 26, 2023

Legal advocates to receive ABA Criminal Justice Section awards at fall meeting

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2023 — A duly elected state attorney in Florida, the chief legal officer for a national poverty law center and a longtime prosecutor who promotes innovation in the field will be awarded the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section’s highest honors during its 16th Annual Fall Institute on Nov. 3 in Washington, D.C.

The awards will be presented during a luncheon ceremony at The Madison Hotel in Washington from 12:30-2:15 p.m. EDT on Nov. 3.

The honorees are:

Curtin-Maleng Minister of Justice Award

Kristine Hamann and Monique Worrell will receive the 2023 Curtin-Maleng Minister of Justice Award, which honors a prosecutor who embodies the principles enunciated in the ABA Standards for Criminal Justice, Prosecution Function, particularly that “the Duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict.”

Hamann is the executive director and founder of Prosecutors’ Center for Excellence, which provides consulting, publications, national meetings and research services for prosecutors to promote best practices, spur innovations and implement solutions. She is a technical adviser and subject matter expert on many topics, including gun crime, witness intimidation, ethics, crime strategy and data collection, community outreach and implicit bias. From 2013 to 2016, Hamann was a visiting fellow at the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance and has worked with prosecutors in more than 40 states on best practices. She chairs the national and New York State Best Practices Committee for Prosecutors and teaches at Georgetown Law School. 

Hamann was a member of the ABA Criminal Justice Council and is on the ABA Criminal Justice Journal Editorial Board. From 2008 to 2013, she was the executive assistant district attorney for the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for New York City. From 2007 to 2008, Hamann was the New York State inspector general. From 1998 to 2007, she served as the executive assistant district attorney to New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Prior to 1998, she held several other positions in that office including deputy chief of the trial division and director of training. Hamann started her career as a violent crime prosecutor and has received various awards for her public service, including the Morgenthau Award (New York State District Attorney’s Association, 2020), the Ethics and Accountability Award (City and State New York, 2018), Outstanding Prosecutor of 2013 (New York State Bar Association) and Prosecutor of the Year for Executive Leadership (New York State District Attorney’s Association, 2010). A photo of Hamann is here.

Worrell is the duly elected state attorney for the 9th Judicial Circuit Court for the state of Florida. She was elected in November 2020 and served as the chief prosecutor until Aug. 9, 2023, when she was unconstitutionally removed from office by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Worrell was the only African American female serving as state attorney. After receiving her law degree from the University of Florida in 1999, Worrell began her career as a public defender in Orange County, Florida. She then went on to private practice where she continued to focus on criminal justice. Worrell later became a clinical law professor at the University of Florida College of Law, where she trained law students who aspired to practice criminal law. Because of her passion for keeping youth out of the criminal justice system, she developed and implemented the Your Future, Your Choice program to teach youth their rights and responsibilities as citizens. Worrell became a founding director of the university’s Criminal Justice Center and developed a rigorous program that has produced many criminal law practitioners across the state of Florida.​

She left the University of Florida to become the founding director of the Conviction Integrity Unit in the State Attorney’s Office in Orange County, Florida, where she led the investigation of claims for wrongful conviction. It was that experience that made her realize that change in the criminal legal system was critical and must come from within. A photo of Worrell is here.​

Albert Krieger Champion of Liberty Award

Derwyn Bunton is the recipient of the 2023 Albert J. Krieger Champion of Liberty Award, which recognizes defense attorneys who embody the principles enunciated in the ABA Standards for Criminal Justice, Defense Function. Bunton is the Southern Poverty Law Center’s chief legal officer. He is responsible for the strategic direction of the SPLC’s litigation to ensure that every case its attorneys pursue advances the organization’s four key impact goals: fighting to protect our democracy, dismantling white supremacy, eradicating poverty and ending mass incarceration. Previously, Bunton led the Orleans (Louisiana) Public Defenders office, where he drew attention from state and national media for his dogged defense of indigent defendant rights. Bunton received his bachelor’s degree in political science from San Diego State University and his law degree from New York University School of Law. A photo of Bunton is here.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.