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National Crime Victim Law Institute

2014 Gail-Burns Smith Excellence in Victims’ Services Award - Catherine Harper Lee

June 05, 2014

  • Joy Photography 2008

Gail Burns-Smith was a member of NCVLI’s Board of Directors from 2002 until her untimely death in 2009.  The Gail Burns-Smith Excellence in Victim Services Award is an annual award designed to honor Gail’s legacy as a tireless leader in the victims’ rights community. The recipient of the award exemplifies Gail’s leadership in advancing the rights of victims of crime and her tireless advocacy to shed light on often-hidden issues. The award was created in 2011 when NCVLI’s general victim advocacy award which Gail had received in 2004 was re-named in Gail’s honor. Because Gail continues to inspire and guide the work of NCVLI, not only does the recipient receive a physical award each year, but a perpetual plaque upon which each recipient’s name is etched is on permanent display at NCVLI’s offices in Portland, Oregon.

Catherine Harper Lee is the founder and executive director of The Justice League of Ohio, which is Ohio’s only Crime Victims’ Rights Legal Clinic.  For the past 20 years, Cathy has been pursuing her passion:  restoring faith and balance in the criminal justice system and she founded TJLO in 2003 help her pursue that passion.  TJLO was founded on the principle that victims of crime deserve and require legal representation.  The Justice League’s Crime Victims Rights’ Legal Clinic provides free legal representation to victims of violent crime throughout Ohio to ensure their constitutional and statutory rights are enforced and protected from the time a crime is first reported throughout the criminal justice process.  They also provide free victims’ rights trainings to hospitals, victim advocates, law enforcement, prosecutors, courts, and the community to promote awareness of crime victims’ rights laws and to ensure consistent systemic implementation of Ohio’s Crime Victims’ Rights Laws.  Cathy serves on Ohio Attorney Mike DeWine’s Sexual Assault Kit Testing Commission, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Violent Crimes with Guns Advisory Council, Ohio Council on Victims Justice, and the Ohio Sexual Assault Task Force; and she is a member of the Ohio Victim Witness Association and the central Ohio Association for Justice, among other organizations.  NCVLI is proud to present Cathy with the 2014 Gail-Burns Smith Excellence in Victim Services Award.

Past Recipients (Award given was Victim Advocacy Award from 2004-2011; In 2011 a new award named Gail Burns-Smith Excellence in Victim Services was created):

  • 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)
  • Gail Burns-Smith (2011, Posthumously)
  • Jennifer Storm (2012)
  • Chanpone Sinlapasai-Okamura (2013)