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National Crime Victim Law Institute

NCVLI Outstanding Achievement Awards

March 12, 2013


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.

2012 Recipient - Erin Olson

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.

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)


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.

2012 Recipient - Jennifer Storm

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.

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)


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.

2012 Recipient - Rocky Mountain Victim Law Center & Denver District Attorney’s Office

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,, has become a resource for people interested in forensic DNA throughout the world.

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)