2008 Recipient

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Where presented : 
NLADA Annual Conference
Recipient(s) name: 
Michael P. Judge
Recipient title: 
Chief Public Defender
Recipient organization city: 
Los Angeles
Recipient organization state: 
Reason for selection of recipient(s): 

With responsibility for 40 offices with more than 700 lawyers, Michael Judge serves as the primary legal counsel for low-income people in Los Angeles who are charged with a crime. Appointed chief public defender in 1994, his career with the public defender’s office has spanned more than 30 years. Judge’s progressive approach to public defense includes embracing holistic programs and initiatives. He has provided consistent leadership bringing people together to craft creative solutions that address root issues with an appreciation of the developmental, educational, psychological and sociological history of each individual represented.

“From personal experience over my many years here, I have never met anyone in our community as effective as Michael has been in getting our colleagues from around the state to join in on a wide variety of criminal justice issues that brought about real and measurable effects,” California Public Defenders Association Executive Director Michael E. Cantrall said in his letter of support for Judge’s nomination. “One of the key features that has made Michael P. Judge so unique and so effective in bringing about changes in our criminal justice system is really simple, but few, other than great leaders, ever get it. He has the wisdom to realize that significant change in our criminal justice system is best brought about by way of collaborative efforts. And with this wisdom, Michael Judge has over the years employed his ability to energize and motivate scores of chief public defenders, trial attorneys (private and public defenders), appellate defense attorneys, and myself, a 29-year executive director of the California Public Defenders Association, to happily spend many volunteer hours working on projects that will (and have) increased the quality and quantity of indigent defense services in our state be it new legislation dealing with eyewitness testimony, jailhouse informants, expungements, testimony in legislative hearings on statewide ballot measures affecting the legal system, on new state bar guidelines to increase oversight of defense
standards on the local level, and similar matters.”