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Criminal Justice Awards Presented

Criminal Justice Awards Presented

Honorees Howard Cummings, left, and Sean Devereux.

The North Carolina Bar Association Criminal Justice Section presented its annual Peter S. Gilchrist III & Wade M. Smith awards on Thursday, Jan. 26. The awards were presented at the Ninth Annual Gilchrist/Smith Awards Dinner at the Embassy Suites in Cary.

Howard Cummings, Wake County First Assistant District Attorney, received the Gilchrist Award. Sean Devereux, a founding partner of Devereux & Banzhoff in Asheville, received the Smith Award.

The Criminal Justice Section presents its awards to an outstanding prosecutor (Gilchrist Award) and defense attorney (Smith Award). The awards are named for their initial recipients, former Mecklenburg County District Attorney Peter Gilchrist and renowned defense attorney Wade Smith of Raleigh.

Boz Zellinger, section chair, presided.

Cummings grew up in Kinston and received an undergraduate degree in civil engineering from N.C. State University. He was a member of Campbell Law School’s first graduation class in 1979.

Cummings began his legal career in the Pitt County District Attorney’s office, where he worked for two and a half years, and spent seven years in private practice. He then went to work for Colon Willoughby, a previous recipient of the Gilchrist Award who served from 1987 to 2014 as district attorney in Wake County, a position now held by Lorrin Freeman.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Becky Holt presented the Gilchrist Award.

Devereux hails from Florida but he received his undergraduate degree from Duke University and his law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law. He worked for the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville after receiving his undergraduate degree, where he served as a police reporter and enhanced his interest in studying law.

Devereux began his career with Pisgah Legal Services, where he ultimately served as acting director, and developed his penchant for criminal defense work after signing on to accept federal-appointed cases.

Attorney Tony Scheer of Charlotte presented the Smith Award.

In keeping with the tradition of the Gilchrist/Smith Awards Dinner, many of the previous recipients, all of whom are listed below, were recognized at the outset of the festivities.

Former winners of the Gilchrist Award who attended this year’s ceremony were Barton Menser, Sandra Hairston, James Coman, Colon Willoughby and Peter Gilchrist.

Former winners of the Smith Award in attendance were Fred Lind, Joe Cheshire, Jim Cooney, Locke Clifford and Wade Smith.

Gilchrist Award Recipients
2016   Howard J. Cummings, Raleigh
2015   Barton Menser, Charlotte
2014   Sandra J. Hairston, Greensboro
2013   James J. Coman, Raleigh
2012   Calvin W. Colyer, Fayetteville
2011   C. Colon Willoughby Jr., Raleigh
2010   William D. Kenerly, Salisbury
2009   Edward W. Grannis Jr., Fayetteville
2008   Peter S. Gilchrist III, Charlotte

Smith Award Recipients
2016   Sean P. Devereux, Asheville
2015   Thomas C. Manning, Raleigh
2014   Mark W. Owens Jr., Greenville
2013   Fredrick G. Lind, Greensboro
2012   James E. Ferguson, Charlotte
2011   Joseph B. Cheshire V, Raleigh
2010   James P. Cooney III, Charlotte
2009   Locke T. Clifford, Greensboro
2008   Wade M. Smith, Raleigh