Committee on Mandated Representation: Denison Ray Criminal Defender Award


The Association is honored to bestow the Denison Ray Criminal Defender Award, named in memory of Denison Ray, a career legal activist who led legal services programs in New York and other states. The award is intended to recognize attorneys with institutional providers who exemplify the highest level of professionalism in providing skilled and zealous representation to indigent clients in criminal proceedings.

Up to two awards are given to staff attorneys employed by a public defender, conflict defender or non-profit corporation based on the overall quality of their legal representation and efforts to inspire, mentor and support colleagues.

One award is given to a director of a defender program based on the ability to inspire staff to provide consistently high quality and zealous representation.

2023 Nominations are now open- please submit your nomination to Cheyenne Burke at [email protected] by May 1, 2023

2022 Denison Ray Criminal Defender Award Winner

Hon Stephen HerrickHon. Stephen W. Herrick
Albany County Public Defender’s Office
Albany, NY

The Hon. Stephen W. Herrick began his legal career as an attorney for the Albany County Public Defender’s Office in 1973. As a young attorney his desire was to pursue work in assisting individuals and those less fortunate. His efforts in the community led to his appointment and then election to the position of Albany City Court Judge in 1995. In 2002 he was elected by the voters of Albany County to the position of County Court Judge. While on the bench, Judge Herrick was a key founder of the Albany County Drug Treatment Court and presided over that program where he was instrumental in helping disenfranchised members of the community overcome substance abuse and addiction issues and avoid lengthy incarceration.

In 2016, upon mandatory retirement from the bench, Judge Herrick was appointed by Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy to the position of Public Defender. During the last five years he has worked tirelessly to improve indigent representation in Albany County and make this office the best criminal defense team in upstate New York.

Judge Herrick has greatly advanced the representation of indigent criminal defendants in Albany County. He has worked with the New York State Office of Indigent Legal Services to secure funding to increase salaries, improve workspace, expand support staff, purchase updated equipment and increase training. Through his efforts, he has recruited experienced trial attorneys, expanded the support staff, hired paralegals and mitigation experts and secured newly renovated office space to support the expanding staff.

Through this role, he is able to advocate for individuals to divert them to a community-based program and away from the criminal justice system to assist them in moving forward with their lives without the stigma of a criminal conviction.

As Public Defender, Judge Herrick has created and inspired a staff that focuses on client-centered representation and has provided the skills and resources to achieve positive outcomes.

Past Recipients of the Denison Ray Criminal Defender Award:

Andrew Kossover, Esq.
Kossover Law Offices
New Paltz, NY

John J. Evans
Dutchess County Public Defender’s Office

Timothy P. Donaher
Monroe County Public Defender

Nancy Farrell & Amanda McHenry
Hiscock Legal Aid Society, Family Court Program
Peter Wolk
New York County Defender Services

Gregory Killburn
Wyoming County Public Defender’s Office
Appeals Bureau of the Monroe County Public Defender Office


Majer Gold
Ulster County Chief Assistant Public Defender

Jerome K. Frost

Andre A. Vitale

Mark J. Caruso

Alfred O’Connor

Robert E. Massi

Richard W. Rich

Drew R. DuBrin

Michelle Fox


Raymond A. Kelly, Jr.

Timothy B. Rountree


John H. Ciulla, Jr.

Susan Hofkin Salomon


Thomas N.N. Angell

Allen Farbman

Alexander Lesyk

Howard A. Pincus