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April 09, 2024

ABA Criminal Justice Section to honor five trailblazing lawyers at its spring institute, April 11-12

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2024 — Legal experts and scholars who have advocated on behalf of children, Native nations and international human rights are among the trailblazers who will be honored for their contributions to the legal profession during the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section’s 2024 Forensic Science and Information Technology Institute,  April 11-12 at the Bahia Resort Hotel in San Diego, California.

The 2023 awards will be presented to honorees during a reception at 5:30 p.m. PDT on Friday, April 12 on the Palm Terrace.

The honorees are:

Curtin-Maleng Minister of Justice Award

Kristine Hamann is the recipient of the Curtin-Maleng Minister of Justice Award, which is bestowed on 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.” Originally known as the Norm Maleng award, it was renamed the Curtin-Maleng Award in 2021.

Hamann is the executive director and founder of the 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. Hamann has served as 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. Formerly a member of the ABA Criminal Justice Council, she currently serves on the ABA Criminal Justice Journal Editorial Board. Previously, she was the executive assistant district attorney for the special narcotics prosecutor for the city of New York, New York state inspector general and executive assistant district attorney to DA Robert Morgenthau in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in New York City. 

Charles R. English Award

Leila Nadya Sadat is the recipient of the Charles R. English Award, which is given to judges, prosecutors, the defense bar, academics and other attorneys who are members of the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section and have distinguished themselves by their work in the field of criminal justice.

Sadat is the James Carr Professor of International Criminal Law at Washington University and a visiting fellow at the Schell Center for Human Rights at Yale Law School. A devoted teacher and prolific scholar, she is renowned for her expertise in international law, human rights and international criminal law, publishing more than 165 articles and books in leading journals, academic presses and media outlets throughout the world. Sadat was the first woman to receive the Alexis de Tocqueville Distinguished Fulbright Chair. She previously served as the director of the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute and as the special adviser on crimes against humanity to the International Criminal Court prosecutor. She was a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and was recently appointed to the Moscow Mechanism of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Sadat launched the Crimes Against Humanity Initiative, a ground-breaking project that wrote the world’s first global treaty on crimes against humanity and continues to spearhead global efforts to negotiate this important new treaty at the United Nations. Closer to home, she has been working on a project on gun violence and human rights, recently publishing “Torture in our Schools? with the Harvard Law Review, which addresses the crisis of mass shootings in U.S. schools.

Frank Carrington Crime Victim Attorney Award

Gerald “Jerry” Gardner is the recipient of the Frank Carrington Crime Victim Attorney Award, which is given to an attorney or legal service provider (including organizations) who has either directly represented specific victims in criminal, juvenile or appellate courts or who have worked to promote or implement policies to improve the treatment of crime victims in the criminal justice system.

A descendant of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Gardner has 45 years of experience working with American Indian/Alaska Native Nations, tribal court systems and victims of crime in Indian country. Since 1996, he has served as executive director of the Tribal Law and Policy Institute, a Native American-operated nonprofit corporation dedicated to providing free publication resources and comprehensive training and technical assistance for Native nations, tribal justice systems and tribal victim services programs. Its mission is to enhance and strengthen tribal sovereignty and justice while honoring community values, protecting rights and promoting well-being. Gardner has extensive experience in the education and legal fields, serving as an adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, UCLA School of Law and Southwestern School of Law and as an administrator for the National American Indian Court Judges Association and appellate court judge for the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians (North Dakota) and Poarch Creek Band (Alabama). He also has held numerous positions with the ABA, including council member for the Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice; co-chair of the section’s Native American Concerns Committee; and as the delegate to the ABA House of Delegates for the National Native American Bar Association. He has served as a special counsel for the Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice and is a recipient of its Father Robert F. Drinan Award for Distinguished Service.

Livingston Hall Juvenile Justice Award

Anthony DeMarco is the recipient of the Livingston Hall Juvenile Justice Award, which is given to an active member of the bar who devotes a significant portion of their legal practice to youth and children and is making positive contributions to the field both in and outside the courtroom.

DeMarco has specialized in the representation of children and their families through the courts and administrative agencies throughout his career. He has litigated children’s issues ranging from the closing of training schools in Massachusetts and the Camp Hill Prison to juveniles in Pennsylvania to class actions on special education mandates. The founder of the Children's Law Center of Massachusetts, which is widely regarded as the definitive agency for quality legal representation and advocacy, DeMarco has served as the director of the Suffolk University Law School Juvenile Justice Center and represented youth in the Juvenile Rights Advocacy Project at Boston College Law School. His specialties include delinquency (detention), status offenses, care and protections, special education and disposition pleading. He has designed training programs and services as faculty for mandatory continuing legal education programs and the Commonwealth’s public defender system. DeMarco is the past chair of the ABA Section of Litigation Children’s Law Committee and a recipient of the ABA Young Lawyer’s Division Child Advocacy Award. He has served on the board of advisers of the ABA Children and the Law Center and was a member of the ABA Steering Committee on the Unmet Legal Needs of Children.

Raeder-Taslitz Award

Deborah W. Denno is the recipient of the Raeder-Taslitz Award, which is given to a law professor whose excellence in scholarship, teaching or community service has made a significant contribution to promoting public understanding of criminal justice, justice and fairness in the criminal justice system or best practices on the part of lawyers and judges.

Denno is the Arthur A. McGivney Professor of Law and founding director of the Neuroscience and Law Center at Fordham Law School. Before joining the Fordham Law faculty, she clerked for Anthony J. Scirica, formerly chief judge of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals and worked as an associate at Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett. At Fordham Law School, she primarily teaches criminal law, criminal procedure and various seminars on advanced criminal law topics, including a criminal law speaker series. Denno has published on a broad range of issues relating to criminal law, criminal procedure, social sciences and the law and the death penalty, including the constitutionality of execution methods. She has also initiated innovative examinations of criminal law defenses about insanity, rape law, gender differences, consciousness, biological and genetic links to crime, drug offenses, jury decision-making and the impact of lead poisoning. Seven of her articles have been cited by the United States Supreme Court. Her forthcoming book, “Changing Law’s Mind: How Neuroscience Can Help Us Punish Criminals More Fairly and Effectively,” analyzes an original data set of every criminal case in the United States that addressed neuroscientific evidence over 12 decades (1900-2022). She contends that, when used correctly, neuroscience can contribute to more comprehensive and accurate assessments of a defendant’s blameworthiness and, therefore, greater fairness in the criminal justice system.

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