Public Defender Services (PDS) recently announced the 2020 recipients of its annual awards.
The recipients of these awards, which recognize individuals exhibiting excellence in a public defender setting, are typically announced during the agency’s annual Indigent Defense Conference.
Although the conference was cancelled this year due to the ongoing pandemic, PDS recognizes that work has continued as shown by the outstanding efforts made in the past year by Teresa McCune, L. Scott Briscoe, Lida Shepherd and Mallory Sutphin.
McCune and Briscoe are co-recipients of the 2020 John A. “Jack” Rogers Award for Outstanding Leadership in Public Service. The award is named for Jack Rogers, who crafted the legislation creating Public Defender Services in 1989 and who then served as its executive director for more than 20 years.
McCune retired in 2019 after 29 years as the public defender for the 30th Judicial Circuit in West Virginia covering Mingo County. She led her office by example, representing her clients in legal proceedings but also advocating for their personal needs, including treatment, counseling and education.
McCune graduated from Marshall University with a degree in international affairs and received her law degree from Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C.
“Teresa was not just an attorney,” said PDS Executive Director Dana Eddy. “She was, and remains, an advocate for her clients, her employees and her community. Teresa not only wanted things to change for the better; she made them change.”
In addition to her service as a public defender, McCune served on numerous committees for the West Virginia State Bar as well as on its Board of Governors and was an active member of the state’s Indigent Defense Commission.
Briscoe practices law in Danville, West Virginia, where he takes appointments from the circuit courts to represent individuals in criminal proceedings who cannot afford to pay for legal counsel.
Briscoe, a graduate of the West Virginia University College of Law, was recently featured in the Washington Post for his representation as the guardian ad litem of a child mired in the juvenile justice system.
In the article, Briscoe was praised for his counseling of the young child, which extended beyond legal advice and provided guidance and inspiration for the child to use his artistic talent. On the day the child was released from the state’s custody and announced his intent to become a tattoo artist, he referred to Briscoe as his “champion.”
Shepherd was the recipient of the 2020 Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Criminal Law, and Sutphin was the recipient of the 2020 GUILD Award.
Public Defender Services thanked each of these recipients for their commitment and dedication to the betterment of the public defender field. A virtual presentation of the awards will be made at a later date, according to the release.