June 07, 2012

2012 Outstanding Achievement Award Winners Announced

Congratulations to the recipients of NCVLI’s 2012 Outstanding Achievement Awards!  Each year, NCVLI accepts nominations from around the country for each of these three awards - the Legal Advocacy Award, Gail Burns-Smith Excellence in Victim Services Award, and Victims’ Rights Partnership Award.  Recipients were honored at NCVLI’s annual Crime Victim Law Conference. 

2012 Outstanding Achievement Award Winners

The Conference provides the opportunity to pause and acknowledge the amazing work of the heroes and heroines of the victims’ rights movement.  These are the people who help victims move toward survivorship and who inspire the rest of us to continue fighting for justice each day.  Please join NCVLI as we honor these amazing people.

Erin Olson, JD
2012 Legal Advocacy Award

NCVLI’s Legal Advocacy Award recognizes crime victims’ rights attorneys who have dedicated and committed their time to representing victims of crime in the criminal justice system.

Erin K. Olson specializes in the representation of victims of child sexual abuse and elder abuse in both civil and criminal courts.  She has litigated dozens of child sexual abuse cases against individuals, private secular organizations, and governmental entities.  She has litigated numerous elder abuse cases in state and federal courts as well.  She often represents her civil clients’ interests in the criminal prosecutions of their abusers, and occasionally is called upon to represent victims and witnesses in criminal cases when their constitutional or statutory rights are not being honored.

Ms. Olson spent the first ten years of her legal career as a prosecutor, working for the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon, and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.

She is a co-founder and board member of the Oregon Crime Victims Law Center, and is the President-Elect of the National Crime Victim Bar Association.

Ms. Olson was raised in Madras, Oregon, and has a BA from Stanford University, an M.S. in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University, and a JD from the University of Connecticut.

Past Recipients:

  • Wendy Murphy (2001)
  • Lyn Schollett (2002)
  • Cynthia Lee Carter (2003)
  • Jay Howell (2003)
  • Richard D. Pompelio (2004)
  • Paul Cassell (2005)
  • Cynthia Hora (2006)
  • Jamie Mills (2007)
  • Steven J. Twist (2008)
  • Crime Victims Legal Assistance Project (2009)
  • Heidi Nestel (2010)
  • Steven Kelley (2011)

Jennifer Storm
2012 Gail Burns-Smith Excellence in Victim Services Award

A member of our Board of Directors from 2002 until her untimely death in 2009, Gail Burns-Smith was a tireless leader in the victim services community.  This award honors her legacy by recognizing outstanding efforts to advance the rights of crime victims.

Jennifer Storm is the Executive Director of the Victim/Witness Assistance Program (VWAP) in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  A private, nonprofit organization dedicated to serving victims of crimes, VWAP’s mission is to reduce the trauma of a crime by empowering and assisting clients in reconstructing their lives through advocacy, support, information, and referrals. In assisting over 8,000 crime victims and witnesses annually, VWAP strives to prevent further victimization by intervening on behalf of its clients to address any problems created by their involuntary involvement in the justice system. Ms. Storm’s job consists of everything from procuring and sustaining a budget of one million dollars and managing a staff of eighteen to working hand-in-hand with law enforcement and prosecutors.  In her role as first responder, she can been seen at any hour of the day or night at a crime scene, the hospital or the home of a family giving notification of a loved-one’s tragedy, a funeral service paying respects, working at her office trying to help victims have funeral expenses paid, as well as in the courtroom walking families through the criminal justice system.

Before joining VWAP, Ms. Storm was the first full-time director of the Statewide Pennsylvania Rights Coalition (SPARC), a nonprofit coalition dedicated to securing and defending fully-inclusive civil rights for Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender people.  During her tenure at SPARC, Ms. Storm worked diligently on obtaining inclusive hate crime legislation.  In 2002, the Pennsylvania legislature passed one of the most inclusive hate crime statutes in the country.  Governor Edward G. Rendell appointed Ms. Storm as a commissioner to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.  In 2011 she was appointed by Governor Tom Corbett to the Victim Services Advisory Committee where she assures that the voices, needs and perspectives of all crime victims/survivors will be considered in the development of services, service standards, policies, funding priorities, legislation and outcomes.  Ms. Storm is the recipient of the 2012 Liberty Bell Award, presented by the Dauphin County Bar Association. The award recognizes her outstanding commitment to civic responsibility.

Ms. Storm is also the author of several books on addiction, recovery and victimization:  Leave the Light On: A Memoir of Recovery and Self-Discovery; Blackout Girl: Growing Up and Drying Out in America; Picking Up the Pieces Without Picking Up: A Guidebook through Victimization for People in Recovery.  On June 5th, her ebook Echoes of Penn State: Facing Sexual Trauma, will be released at the BookExpo America in New York, and will be available to download on tablets and notebooks on June 15th.

Past Recipients (formerly the Victim Advocacy Award):

  • Gail Burns-Smith (2004)
  • Kathy Skaggs (2005)
  • Diane Moyer (2006)
  • John Stein (2007)
  • Roberta Roper (2008)
  • Steve Derene (2009)
  • Steve Doell (2010)
  • Anne Seymour (2011)


Rocky Mountain Victim Law Center & Denver District Attorney’s Office
2012 Victims’ Rights Partnership Award

NCVLI’s Victims’ Rights Partnership Award recognizes the collaborative efforts of individuals and/or organizations who have devoted their time to advancing crime victims’ rights.

The Rocky Mountain Victim Law Center (RMvlc) provides free legal representation for victims of violent crime in criminal cases aiding with the enforcement of both Colorado and Federal Crime Victim’s Rights Acts.  RMvlc operates as independent legal counsel charged to protect the legal rights and best interests of the victim through a broad-based approach grounded in litigation, creative problem-solving, and extensive knowledge of the judicial system.  RMvlc was started as a part of a national network of clinics organized under The National Crime Victim Law Institute.  Founders John Clune, JD, and Shari Vanino, Psy.D. now serve on the Board.  Lisa Teesch-Maguire, Esq., is the Legal Director for RMvlc, specializing in victims’ rights and direct legal representation for crime victims.  Ms. Teesch-Maguire was a prosecutor in the Office of the District Attorney, 18th Judicial District of Colorado and served as the Criminal Division Chief of the Attorney General’s Office in American Samoa.  Ms. Teesch-Maguire received both her JD and M.BA from the University of Colorado in 2004.  She has also studied international law in Sweden and international affairs in the Netherlands. 

The Denver District Attorney’s Office has 75 attorneys and approximately 125 support staff working on behalf of the citizens of Denver. Under the leadership of Denver District Attorney Mitchell R. Morrissey, the office maintains two priorities: prosecuting criminals to the fullest extent possible, and protecting the rights and interests of innocent victims.

Mitch Morrissey was elected District Attorney of Denver, Colorado in November 2004 and was sworn into office on January 11, 2005.  Mr. Morrissey is internationally recognized for his expertise in DNA technology, applying that technology in criminal prosecutions and working to ensure that DNA science is admissible in court.  He has trained law enforcement officers and prosecutors regarding DNA technology in the Middle East, Canada and throughout the United States.  A veteran prosecutor, he introduced the first DNA evidence used in a criminal trial in Denver.  The DNA Resource section of his Website, www.denverda.org, has become a resource for people interested in forensic DNA throughout the world.

Mr. Morrissey has worked extensively on the Denver Cold Case Project where over 5,400 unsolved sexual assaults and murders have been reviewed in an effort to use DNA technologies to solve those cases.  Mr. Morrissey, along with the Denver Police Department, is permanently implementing the use of DNA to also solve burglary cases and other property crimes.  Mr. Morrissey is one of the lead proponents of using Familial DNA Database Searches in the United States and directs the Denver DNA Human Identification Research Project which is studying the use of familial DNA searches in criminal investigations in Denver and Colorado.  A familial DNA search software developed under Morrissey’s direction is in use in criminal investigations in Colorado, Virginia and Wyoming.

Past Recipients:

  • Grant County Prosecutor’s Office & Dano, Gilbert & Ahrend P.L.L.C. (2006)
  • Attorney General Hardy Myers (2007)
  • Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, James McIntyre, & Russ Rato (2008)
  • Mónica Ramírez (2009)
  • Victim Witness Section of the United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Arizona (2010)
  • Alaska Office of Victims’ Rights (2011)