First Assistant Monroe County Public Defender Recognized

NYS Defenders Association Presents Award to Brazill

ALBANY, NY (07/28/2015)(readMedia)-- The New York State Defenders Association (NYSDA) bestowed the Wilfred R. O'Connor Award on Roger Brazill, First Assistant Public Defender in the Monroe County Public Defender's Office, during NYSDA's Annual Conference in Saratoga Springs, NY, on Monday July 27, 2015.

Brazill is widely known among public defense providers as a co-author of "Parole Representation in New York State," which he updated for several years. The manual originated at The Legal Aid Society (LAS) of New York City, where Brazill began work after his 1977 law school graduation and later became Director of the Parole Revocation Unit before moving to Rochester. Brazill has shared his knowledge with defender colleagues in other ways as well. For NYSDA, which distributed the manual, he has appeared as a presenter at continuing legal education (CLE) training events as recently as this year; he has lectured extensively in other venues as well.

But the award recognizes much more than Brazill's legal expertise and efforts to help other public defense lawyers develop necessary knowledge and skills. Monroe County Public Defender Timothy P. Donaher wrote in support of Brazill's nomination, "through word and deed, [he] exemplifies client-centered representation each and every day." Praising Brazill's empathy and compassion, Donaher noted that Brazill's position brings him in contact "with clients and family members who have concerns about their particular case," and that when meeting with people who may be frightened or angry Brazill "exhibits a sense of composure and patience that is admired by everyone."

In an office that, like all public defense programs, faces diminishing resources, Brazill keeps clients at the center of the work. In Donaher's words, Brazill "is always reminding me, and others, that our only obligation is to zealously advocate on behalf of our clients to ensure that they are receiving the best possible representation."

The Wilfred R. O'Connor Award, named in honor of founding member and long-time President of NYSDA, Bill O'Connor, is presented to an attorney who has been in practice fifteen or more years, practices in the area of public defense, and exemplifies the client-centered sense of justice, persistence, and compassion that characterized Bill's life.

This award and others were presented during a ceremony on the evening between two full days of CLE. NYSDA provides affordable, high-quality CLE relevant to public defense practice at statewide as well as regional events as part of its mission. A not-for-profit, membership organization, NYSDA has been providing support to New York's public defense community since 1967. Its mission is to improve the quality and scope of publicly supported legal representation to low income people.