January 27, 2009


Recipients noted for integrity, commitment to service and leadership

ALBANY-The New York State Bar Association's Committee on Attorneys in Public Service has awarded Denise E. O'Donnell of Albany (Commissioner, New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services) and Anthony J. Annucci of Albany (Executive Deputy Commissioner, Department of Correctional Services) with the 2009 Excellence in Public Service Awards. The awards will be given at the Association's Annual Meeting at the Marriott Marquis in Manhattantoday at a reception from 5:30-7:00 p.m.

To be considered for the recognition, individuals must epitomize a dedication to a "higher calling" by not only working in the public sector, but in demonstrating a commitment to service, honor and integrity.

"We are pleased to present this year's awards to two of New York's finest public service leaders. Both Denise O'Donnell and Anthony Annucci represent the very best of the legal profession through their integrity, commitment to service and professionalism," said Committee on Attorneys in Public Service Chair Prof. Patricia E. Salkin of Albany(Director, Government Law Center of Albany Law School). "I applaud their continued excellence and exceptional efforts to lead the people of New York."

Denise E. O'Donnell was appointed Commissioner of the Division of Criminal Justice Services by Governor Spitzer in 2007. In this role, O'Donnell operates a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities such as the operation of the DNA databank and the collection and analysis of statewide crime data. O'Donnell also serves as Assistant Secretary for Criminal Justice, advising Governor Patterson on key public safety and criminal justice issues.

A graduate of the University at Buffalo School of Law, O'Donnell began her career as a social worker before becoming a lawyer. O'Donnell was appointed United States Attorney by President Clinton 1997 and became the first woman to ever to hold the position of top federal prosecutor in upstate New York.

O'Donnell was inducted into the Western New York Women's Hall of Fame and received the Association's Ruth G. Schapiro Award in 2005.

Anthony J. Annucci was appointed Executive Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services in 2008 after 24 years of service. He serves as the agency's chief legal advisor and has played an integral role in shaping correctional programs in New Yorkby drafting or contributing to legislative initiatives such as Jenna's Law, the Comprehensive Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment Program and the Sentencing Reform Act of 1998.

In 2008, Annucci served as the agency's lead counsel on negotiating a settlement regarding the treatment of mentally ill inmates that included several state agencies. The results of his involvement have made New Yorkthe new national model for providing services to mentally ill prisoners.

A graduate of Fordham University and Brooklyn Law School, Annucci is a key member of the NYS Commission on Sentencing Reform and has provided proposals on new sentencing guidelines, changes in Merit Time and Rockefeller Drug Law requirements and other critical issues.

Past recipients include: Mark L. Davies, New York City Conflicts of Interest Board; Barbara F. Smith, Lawyer Assistance Trust; Murray M. Jaros, NYS Association of Towns; Joan A. Kehoe, NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets; Hon. Judith S. Kaye, retired Chief Judge, NYS Court of Appeals; David B. Klingaman (posthumous), NYS Court of Claims; Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, 42nd Infantry Division; Hon. Jonathan Lippman, Presiding Justice, Appellate Division, First Department; Robert J. Freeman, NYS Commission on Open Government; Walter E. Mugdan, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Jeffrey Friedlander, New York City Law Department; and Leonard Koerner, New York City Law Department.

The 76,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New Yorkand the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Founded in 1876, State Bar programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.