OCDLA Awards

 

Dennis Balske

Special Capital Defender Lifetime Achievement Award

Friday, October 25, 5:00 p.m. – Hallmark Resort, Newport

Don’t miss this very special award presentation to honor Denny’s outstanding lifetime career defending capital cases. Join your colleagues, family and friends—all are welcome—for a celebration and reception, featuring yummy treats and a no-host bar.

Dennis Balske received his J.D. in 1974 from Ohio State University College of Law. As early as 1976 he began teaching criminal defense, and starting in the late ’70s he was lecturing and writing about capital punishment and capital defense. He went on to found the Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and served as its executive director and president and on several committees in the early ’80s.

In 1978, Dennis joined the Southern Poverty Law Center as a staff attorney and served in that capacity until 1984, when he became the organization’s legal director, specializing in capital-punishment and class-action, civil rights litigation. Along the way he chaired the Death Penalty Committee and co-chaired the Amicus Curiae Committee for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, where he also served on its board for two terms. Additional professional associations include serving on the Alabama Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Indigent Defense (five years) and the Advisory Committee on Criminal Procedure (seven years), chair of the Alabama State Bar’s Indigent Defense Committee (seven years), and the board of the Alabama Capital Representation Resource Center (four years).

In 1992 he joined the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Portland where he stayed until 2003 when he developed a solo practice emphasizing state post-conviction and federal habeas corpus litigation. He has served as a member of the Office of Public Defense Services Screening Committee for Capital Defenders (15 years), as co-chair of OCDLA’s Capital Defenders (15 years), on the US District Court’s Capital Habeas Rules Committee (12 years), and as president and program chairperson for the Owen M. Panner American Inn of Court (four years). He chaired the Oregon State Bar’s Post-Conviction Task Force for two years and drafted the Performance Standards for Post-Conviction Relief Practitioners that were adopted by the State Bar. He has testified as an expert witness in numerous capital post-conviction cases in Oregon, as well as in Ohio, Alabama, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Missouri, Texas, and Florida.

Dennis has been named an Oregon Super Lawyer sine 2010. Other awards include the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ prestigious Robert C. Heeney Memorial Award, that organization’s President’s Commendation, and an OCDLA President’s Award among many other commendations. He is the author of Representing Yourself in Oregon State Post-Conviction Proceedings: A Guide Toward Preserving Your Issues for Federal Habeas Corpus Review, distributed by the Oregon Federal Public Defender.

 

 

Juvenile Law Advocacy Award

The award recognizes the challenging nature of practicing juvenile dependency and delinquency law, the legal complexity of these cases, the physical and emotional toll of representing parents, children, and youth when the state has intervened in the family, and the extraordinary effort required to capably and compassionately do this work.

The award honors the vital services of juvenile law defense attorneys who have set high practice standards in Oregon’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems through effective and zealous advocacy.

arrow See 2019 recipient — Ginger Fitch.
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See 2019 recipient — Maurisa Gates.
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See 2019 recipient — Amy Miller.
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See 2017 recipient — Dick Garbutt.
arrow See 2016 recipient — Julie H. McFarlane.

The award is presented on the Friday of the Annual Juvenile Law Conference in April. One or more of these awards could be presented in a given year.
Nominations — If you would like to suggest a possible recipient for the Juvenile Law Advocacy Award, email two to three short paragraphs explaining why the recipient is deserving to Executive Director Shaun McCrea and Juvenile Law Committee chair Sarah Peterson.

The nomination deadline is January 15 each year.


Julie H. McFarlane Lifetime Achievement Award

Created in 2017 following the retirement of Oregon’s legendary juvenile law defense attorney, Julie H. McFarlane, the eponymous Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes the long-standing commitment and significant achievements of juvenile delinquency and dependency defense attorneys who have made substantial, important, and enduring contributions to the administration of justice for their clients.

arrow See 2019 recipient — Thomas C. Bernier.
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See 2018 recipient — Katherine O. “K.O.” Berger.
arrow See 2018 recipient — Doug Killian.
arrow See 2017 recipient — Angela Sherbo.

We believe the name of a potential lifetime achievement award recipient will speak for itself. Email The award recipient is selected in the winter, and the award is presented on the Friday of the Annual Juvenile Law Conference in April.
Nominations — Nominations are accepted year round, and the Juvenile Law Committee will decide each February whether to make the award at the April Annual Juvenile Law Conference. To be considered in February names must be submitted by January 15. If you would like to suggest a possible recipient for this award contact Executive Director Shaun McCrea and Juvenile Law Committee chair Sarah Peterson. This award may not be presented every year.

Ken Morrow Lifetime Achievement Award

Created in 2000 following the death of Oregon’s legendary criminal defense attorney, Ken Morrow, the Ken Morrow Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes the lifelong commitment and significant achievements of attorneys who have worked in the defense community and those who have made important contributions to the administration of justice. The award is presented at the Winter Conference in December. Nominations — If you would like to suggest a possible recipient for this award contact Executive Director Shaun McCrea and President Olcott Thompson. The Board of Directors decides on the award recipient(s) in the spring, and the award is presented on the Friday of the December Winter Conference. The award is not automatically presented every year.
arrow See 2018 recipients.
arrow See 2017 and earlier recipients.

 

Ross M. Shepard Service to OCDLA Award

Created in 2014 to recognize members who have made a significant difference to the association. Nominations — If you would like to suggest a possible recipient for this award contact Executive Director Shaun McCrea and President Olcott Thompson. The Board of Directors decides on the award recipient(s) in the fall or winter, and the award is presented at the Annual Conference. The award is not automatically presented every year.
arrow See 2018 recipient — Alex Bassos.
arrow See 2017 recipient — Jim Arneson.
arrow See 2015 and 2016 recipients.

 

President’s Awards

The OCDLA president selects recipients and presents these awards at the Annual Conference. The awards are presented at the Annual Conference in June. Nominations — If you would like to suggest a possible recipient for this award contact Executive Director Shaun McCrea and President Olcott Thompson.
arrow See all award recipients.