June 12, 2015: State Bar Association Announces Denison Ray Criminal Defender Award and Excellence Awards

For their dedication in helping low-income New Yorkers gain access to quality legal services, an assistant public defender, an attorney and two organizations have been honored with awards  by the New York State Bar Association’s Committee to Ensure Mandated Representation. 

“Each of the award recipients has made a positive impact on the lives of the most vulnerable citizens in our society,” said State Bar President David P. Miranda (Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti). “It is a privilege to recognize their hard work, and I congratulate all of the honorees.” 

The awards were presented by Andrew Kossover, chair of the Committee to Ensure Mandated Representation, on June 5 at the State Bar.  

Denison Ray Criminal Defender Award

Gregory A. Kilburn

Gregory A. Kilburn is the assistant public defender in the Wyoming County public defender’s office. A zealous advocate for clients, he handles a large number of misdemeanors in the local criminal courts and maintains a significant felony caseload.

Kilburn works with Wyoming County’s program providing counsel at first appearance. In the past year, he responded to about 120 arraignments, most of which were during late evening or early morning hours. 

The award is named for Denison Ray, a career legal activist who led legal services programs in New York and other states. It recognizes a criminal defense attorney who exemplifies the highest level of professionalism in providing zealous representation to indigent clients in criminal proceedings.

2015 Award for Excellence in Quality Mandated Representation (three recipients)

Joanne Macri

Joanne Macri is director of Regional Initiatives for the Indigent Legal Services Office in Albany. Her innovative efforts to improve the quality of mandated representation include spearheading the creation of regional immigration resource centers in six locations in New York state. 

The centers will provide assistance to attorneys, offer education programs, help providers develop service plans and procedures for non-citizens, and encourage collaboration among providers, community-based organizations, law schools and bar associations.

She was previously the director of the Criminal Defense Immigration Project/Immigration Defense Project of the New York State Defenders Association.

Center for Family Representation

Selected for consistently demonstrating adherence to the highest professional standards in providing mandated representation, the Center for Family Representation guides statewide and national efforts to improve parent representation in family and dependency courts. Since its founding in 2002, the Center for Family Representation has represented thousands of parents in abuse, neglect and termination of parental rights proceedings in Queens and Manhattan Family Court.

The Justice First Project of the Center for Appellate Litigation

Chosen for its innovative efforts to improve the quality of post-conviction representation of wrongfully convicted or innocent clients, the Justice First Project of the Center for Appellate Litigation seeks remedies when traditional appeals processes are not enough.

The mission of the Justice First Project is to ensure that wrongful convictions are detected and investigated as early in the appellate process as possible.

The Excellence in Quality Mandated Representation Awards recognize an individual attorney or organization that has demonstrated consistent adherence to the highest professional standards in providing mandated representation, engaged in innovative efforts to improve the overall quality of mandated representation or has promoted steps by the legislature, executive branch or judiciary to ensure the provision of high-quality, mandated representation.

The 74,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.

Contact: Christina Couto 
Senior Media Writer
ccouto@nysba.org
518-487-5535