January 25, 2017: Nine Honored for Distinguished Service in Criminal Justice by New York State Bar Association

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Preet Bharara and the late Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson are among the nine individuals honored for their outstanding contributions to the criminal justice community in 2016.

Six recipients were honored January 25 by the Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section of the New York State Bar Association during its Annual Meeting in New York City. The others will be recognized at the section’s May meeting in the Finger Lakes region.

“The New York State Bar Association's Criminal Justice Section celebrates the exemplary careers of this year’s award recipients at its Annual Meeting luncheon,” said Sherry Levin Wallach of Mt. Kisco (Wallach & Rendo) chair of the Criminal Justice Section. “We recognize each of their outstanding contributions and dedication to the criminal justice community and congratulate them all.”

Award winners honored at the Annual Meeting include:

Kenneth P. Thompson (posthumous), David S. Michaels Memorial Award
After taking office in 2014, Thompson moved to revitalize the wrongful conviction review unit at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office. Since then, 21 people have been exonerated. Sadly, Thompson died of cancer in 2016.

Malvina Nathanson, Outstanding Appellate Practitioner
Nathanson has spent most of her career representing criminals in appellate and post-conviction matters including with The Legal Aid Society of New York City, where she was associate attorney-in-charge of the criminal appeals bureau. She is now in private practice.

Heather Ann Thompson, Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Public Information
Thompson is an author and award-winning historian on the faculty at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Her recent book, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy, was named a finalist for the National Book Award.

Rick Jones, Michele S. Maxian Award for Outstanding Public Defense Practitioner
Jones, a trial lawyer for over 25 years, is executive director and a founding member of Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem. He is a lecturer at Columbia Law School and President-elect of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Hon. John M. Leventhal, Vincent E. Doyle, Jr. Award for Outstanding Judicial Contribution in the Criminal Justice System
Judge Leventhal was appointed an associate justice of the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department in 2008 to hear civil and criminal appeals. He released a book in 2016, My Partner, My Enemy, on his experiences presiding over the nation’s first felony domestic violence court.

Preet Bharara, Outstanding Prosecutor
Bharara was appointed U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York in 2009. He supervises an office of more than 220 assistant U.S. attorneys, who handle cases pertaining to domestic and international terrorism, narcotics and arms trafficking, white collar crime, public corruption, gang violence, organized crime and civil rights violations.

Award winners who will be honored in May include:

Karen Murtagh, Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Correctional Services
Murtagh heads Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York, a not-for-profit legal services organization that provides civil legal services to indigent inmates in N.Y. prisons. She lectures and conducts CLE trainings statewide on prisoners’ rights issues.

Cheryl Meyers Buth, Charles F. Crimi Memorial Award Meyers
Buth is a longtime criminal defense lawyer in the Buffalo area. Meyers Buth regularly appears on local television in Buffalo as a legal commentator. She has also been certified as an agent for the National Basketball Players’ Association.

Gary Muldoon, Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Criminal Law Education
Muldoon is a partner at Muldoon, Getz & Reston in Rochester. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Buffalo Law Schoo, where he is also co-director of the Innocence & Justice Project. He has authored several books including “Handling a Criminal Case in New York.”

The 72,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.

Contact: Christian Nolan
Senior Writer