Two area attorneys were among three recognized last month at the New York State Defenders Association’s Annual Meeting and Conference.
The awards recognize the work performed by many attorneys who provide criminal defense and Family Court representation to those who cannot afford counsel.
The Service of Justice Award, recognizing individuals or organizations who provide outstanding support to public defense and to the association, was presented to Donald M. Thompson of Easton Thompson Kasperek Shiffrin LLP in Rochester
He worked independently and with the Innocence Project to exonerate several wrongfully convicted defendants, the most recent being Frank Sterling, who was exonerated in April of a 1988 murder conviction and released from prison. Thompson worked for more than 15 years to have Sterling’s conviction overturned.
The 2010 Kevin M. Andersen Memorial Award went to Leanne Lapp of Farmington, the first assistant public defender in Ontario County’s new Office of the Public Defender. Ontario County Public Defender Thomas Kidera, who nominated Lapp, had worked with Andersen, who died in 2004. The award was created by the Genesee County Public Defender’s Office in Andersen’s memory. Recipients must have been in practice fewer than 15 years, practice in indigent defense and exemplify the sense of justice, determination and compassion that were the hallmarks of Andersen’s career.