The Clara Shortridge Folz award commends a public defender program or defense delivery system for outstanding achievement in the provision of indigent defense services. The achievement may be the result of an effort by the entire program, a division or branch or a special project. This award is co-sponsored by NLADA and the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants. Established in 1985, this award was named for the founder of the nation's public defender system. Foltz, California's first woman lawyer, introduced the "Foltz Defender Bill" at the Congress of Jurisprudence and Law Reform in Chicago in 1893.
This year the award was bestowed upon the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender in recognition of their progressive work in public defense. In particular, the Cook County Public Defender's Office was acknowledge for the expansion of public defender representation beyond the courtroom to persons detained at police stations, thereby securing the 5th amendment rights of detainees in Cook County who otherwise would not have the financial means to hire private counsel.
Amy Campanelli accepted the award on behalf of the Cook County Public Defender's Office in Washington D.C. on Dec. 8, 2017. She sited all of the hard work and dedication displayed by the members of the office on behalf of their clients who made police station representation possible.