Virginia State Bar

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Criminal Law

A Section of the Virginia State Bar.

Section News and Information

February 6, 2012

Public Defender Melinda Douglas Presented with Carrico Award

The Virginia State Bar Criminal Law Section has presented its 2012 Harry L. Carrico Professionalism Award to Melinda Douglas, Public Defender for the City of Alexandria since 1987.

The award was presented on February 3, 2012, during the section’s 42nd Annual Criminal Law Seminar in Williamsburg. The Honorable Martin F. Clark Jr., author and judge in the Patrick County Circuit Court, was the keynote speaker.

The award was named for a former Virginia Supreme Court chief justice who promoted the ideals of professionalism during his 42 years on the state’s highest court.

Petersburg General District Court Judge Lucretia A. Carrico, daughter of former Chief Justice Carrico, presented the award on behalf of her father.  “Her activities and energy all illustrate her commitment to the improvement of the criminal justice system,” Judge Carrico said of Ms. Douglas during the award presentation. “She realizes that her clients are the poor and the downtrodden, and how important it is to work to ensure that each and every one of them receives a fair trial with proper professional representation that can only be achieved through the hard work necessary to be fully prepared and proficient in the law and facts of each case.”

Ms. Douglas earned a bachelor’s degree from Boston University and a law degree from the Antioch College School of Law. In addition to heading the Public Defender’s office, she is an adjunct professor of law at the Washington College of Law, American University, has been a speaker at various Continuing Legal Education seminars, is a past chair of the Criminal Law Section, and a member of numerous task forces on criminal law.

Ms. Douglas is also a respected teacher. "Melinda's singular and unique contribution to the commonwealth is that by paying attention to each individual attorney, intern, and client that passes through her office, she has improved the system of criminal justice in the Commonwealth of Virginia," according to a group letter signed by federal defenders Kenneth P. Troccoli, Mary E. Maguire, and Richard C. Goemann.