Since 1992, TACDL has given special recognition awards to people who have done extraordinary work in four areas:

Robert W. Ritchie Award

for outstanding services to TACDL

1992 Robert D. Massey (Leadership as President)
1993 The Criminal Justice Funding Crisis Group – Gary L. Anderson, Lionel R. Barrett, Jr., N. Reese Bagwell, Richard Dinkins, Charles Dooley, Robert M. Friedman, Isaiah “Skip” Gant, Harris Gilbert, Robert D. Massey, William Moore, Jr., Joseph L. Patterson, Randall E. Reagan, William P. Redick, Jr., James Russell, and AC Wharton – (Work with Spangenberg & raising attorney’s fees for appointed cases)
1994 Kevin Batts and Kenneth F. Irvine, Jr. (New look of For the Defense)
1995 Martin G. Szeigis (Work as CLE Committee Chair)
1996 Joseph S. Ozment, David M. Seigel and Wendy Tucker (Outstanding CLE year)
1997 Donald E. Dawson (Work as Post-Conviction Defender)
1998 W. Mark Ward (Active volunteer and work on various projects)
1999 Paula R. Voss (Re-activating the Amicus Committee)
2000 R. Scott Carpenter and Mark E. Stephens with support staff (Developing, hosting and maintaining website)
2001 Stephen G. Young (Years of work as Legislative Chair)
2002 C. Dawn Deaner (Middle TN CLE organizer and work on updating the Forensic Expert database)
2003 Jerry P. Black (For commitment to teaching goals, aspiration and principles of quality criminal defense to his students)
2004 William D. Massey and Lorna S. McClusky (Dedication and commitment in producing TACDL’s annual Criminal Defense College [TCDC])
2005 Paul J. Morrow, Jr. (For many years of outstanding service to TACDL)
2006 Richard M. McGee (Outstanding service for the betterment of the Association)
2007 Mark Stephens & Julia M. Auer (Envisioning & creating Ritchie Commemorative Edition)
2008 Wade V. Davies (In appreciation of his written legal advocacy, on behalf of TACDL and the accused across Tennessee)
2009 Patrick Frogge (In appreciation of written legal advocacy on behalf of TACDL and the accused across Tennessee)
2011 Paul Bruno
2012 Suanne Bone (For her extraordinary work as Executive Director of TACDL)
2013 John Oliva
2014 Rob McKinney
2015 Mike Working
2016 Melanie Bean
2017 Claiborne Ferguson
2018 Jessica Van Dyke
2019 Amanda Gentry
2020 Jeff Cherry
2021 Stephen Ross Johnson, Kevin McGee
2022 Lisa Naylor
2023 Jonathan Cooper

The Death Penalty Award

for outstanding work in the anti-death penalty arena

1992 William P. Redick and Henry A. Martin (Years of dedicated capital case work)
1993 The Capital Case Resource Center (Staff)
1994 Gary L. Anderson (Work from the University of Tennessee Law Clinic)
1995 Isaiah “Skip” Gant (Taco Bell murder defendants)
1996 Paul J. Morrow, Jr. (Zealous advocacy in the death penalty area)
1997 John G. Oliva (Years of committed anti-death penalty work)
1998 Bradley A. MacLean (Continuing work on Abu Ali Abdur’ Rahman’s case as a civil attorney)
1999 Donald E. Dawson (Work as the TN Post-Conviction Defender)
2000 Mary Ann Green (Relentless work on Harold Nichols’ case)
2001 William D. Massey and Lorna S. McClusky (Repeated successful representations of citizens charged with capital crimes in Memphis)
2002 Brock Mehler
2003 Kelly Gleason (Determination, ability, and talent to educate and prepare us for the Fight for Life)
2004 Gerald D. Skahan (27 death penalty cases in 7 years without one having been lost to a death verdict)
2005 James A. Simmons (Extraordinary work in the anti-death penalty arena)
2006 Ronald L. Lax (Extraordinary work in the arena of capital defense investigations)
2007 Michael J. Passino (For years of extraordinary commitment & relentless diligence)
2008 Karla G. Gothard (A tenacious courtroom advocate, teacher, and mentor in the battle against the death penalty in Tennessee)
2011 Bass, Berry & Sims, PLC
2012 Capital Habeas Unit, The Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Middle District of Tennessee and Capital Habeas Unit, The Federal Defender Services of Eastern Tennessee, Inc.
2013 Paul Bruno
2014 Patrick McNally
2015 C. Anne Tipton and Kathleen Morris
2017 Michael Scholl
2018 Robert L. Hutton
2019 Kelley Henry, Stephen Kissinger, Gene Shiles
2020 Luke Evans

Joseph B. Jones Award

for lifetime achievement in the areas of criminal defense and the law

1998 In memoriam of The Honorable Joe B. Jones
2000 Lionel R. Barrett, Jr.
2001 Robert W. Ritchie
2006 In memoriam of Robert W. Ritchie
2007 Herbert S. Moncier (For outstanding lifetime achievement in criminal defense)
2008 In memoriam of Ross E. Alderman (In appreciation of his leadership and achievements as a career advocate for the indigent and the accused; for his many years of public service, most recently as the Public Defender for Nashville and Davidson County; and for his friendship and support to the members of TACDL)
2009 Marvin Ballin (For his extraordinary unwavering commitment to justice) Joseph B. Jones Award for outstanding lifetime achievement in criminal defense.
2009 Benjamin Dempsey (For having the honesty to consider his own advocacy, the courage to learn new trial methods, and the bravery to take his new skills to the courtroom)
2011 William D. Massey
2012 W. Thomas Dillard, III
2013 James A.H. Bell
2014 Lorna McClusky
2015 Paul Bruno
2016 Richard McGee
2017 Lorna McCluskey
2018 Jerry Summers
2019 John G. Oliva
2020 Sam Perkins – In Memoriam
2021 David Raybin, Wade Davies, Patrick McNally
2022 Randy Reagan
2023 Jeff DeVasher

Massey McGee Trial Advocacy Award

for lifetime achievement in the areas of criminal defense and the law

2009 Benjamin Dempsey (For having the honesty to consider his own advocacy, the courage
to learn new trial methods, and the bravery to take his new skills to the courtroom)2010
2012 Lauren M. Fuchs and Kamilah Turner
2013 Sunny Eaton, Arthur E. Horne III and George R. Maifair
2014 Joseph McClusky, Taylor Eskridge, Bailey Harned and Glenn Shinaberry (In Memorium)
2015 Haden Lawyer, Rhonda Lee, Carlissa Shaw and Courtney Teasley
2016 Office of the Post-Conviction Defender
2017 Jason Ballenger, Monica Timmerman and Matthew Spivey
2018 NyKedra Demi Jackson, Marie Stacey, Rhonda Lee
2019 Meigan Thompson, Roger Nell, Tracey Vought Williams
2020 Eric Elms
2023 Jennifer Dilley, Lisa Wooley, Chelsea Harris

Workhorse Award

for essential leadership, attention to detail and tireless work for TACDL

2014 Larry Drolsum and Rich McGee
2015 Jeff Cherry and Sara Compher-Rice
2016 Ben Raybin, Amanda Gentry and Jessica VanDyke
2017 Roger Nell, John Oliva and Jonathan Cooper
2018 Suanne Bone, Austin Brown, Claiborne Ferguson
2019 Jonathan Harwell, Lauren Fuchs, Mark Donahoe
2020 Ryan Davis
2021 Leili Evariste, Lisa Naylor
2022 Matt Brock
2023 Chelsea Curtis

Stars of Light

for new/young members who exhibit exemplary leadership and zeal for TACDL’s mission

2018 Ryan C. Davis, Wesley Clark
2019 Jack Mitchell, Brian Lee Nash
2020 Joseph W. Fuson
2021 Courtney Teasley, Brittany Davis
2022 Gordon Byars, Brandy Spurgin-Floyd
2023 Ramon Damas, Tim Hewitt

Indigent Defense Award

2021 Kamilah Turner
2022 Patrick Frogge
2023 Brennan Wingerter

Tip of the Spear Award

2023 Jonathan Harwell

TACDL History

TACDL Leadership