We have lost 8 dear friends and valued colleagues this year. As Thomas Carlyle poignantly said, “History is the essence of innumerable biographies.” The following are 8 stars in the spotlight, who each leave their own history, who forever remain with us as stars in the universe. We thank them for their lifetime of dedication to the cause of justice and we will miss them all.
Star in the Spotlight: Patrick J. Carney
Patrick J. Carney, of New York City, was born and raised in Queens, New York. He spent over 20 years in law enforcement rising to New York City Police Captain. While earning his law degree at Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center, he interned at the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office. He loved the experience he brought from law enforcement to helping the citizen accused. “I know firsthand how cops and district attorneys put together cases. I used to be in their shoes. I have the playbook. Make no mistake. Cops concern themselves mainly with aiding the prosecution and building up a case against you. They should not be relied upon to gather favorable evidence that helps exonerate their suspect. They are not on your side.” He was married with two sons. Patrick was proud to be a member of the NCDD. We are proud of him. He will be missed but his legacy lives on.
Star in the Spotlight: Charlie Cump
Charlie Cump, of Denver, Colorado was not only a DUI defense warrior but a KUVO substitute host and well known jazz aficionado. Born in Chicago, he developed music as a passion at an early age starting with the piano. He taught an adult education class in jazz history at the Denver Free University which was later absorbed into the Colorado Free University. He cared greatly about his community. He worked alongside Senator Michael Bennet in helping transition Manual High School students to another high school while the district shut down and re-opened this troubled school. He took great pride in being a volunteer mentor to challenged youth. He earned his Bachelor of Philosophy and Psychology from Grand Valley State University and his law degree from the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law. Charlie’s smiling face will be missed. We are proud of him. He will be missed but his legacy lives on.
Star in the Spotlight: Randall Harris
Randy Harris of Portales, New Mexico was Prosecutor of the Year in 1998. At the age of 28, he was the youngest elected district attorney in the state’s history where he served 12 years. He joked to a journalist friend, “You better not get in between me and a TV camera or you might get hurt.” He played football as a walk on for the Eastern New Mexico University Greyhounds, a fact he was most proud of. He remarked that in his collegiate football career, he was never the biggest, fastest, or strongest, but had “a heart the size of the entire defensive line.” He was very involved in several nonprofit organizations and played a significant role in the formation of the Hartley House, a battered women’s shelter. Those who were represented by Randy were most fortunate. Described by a close friend, “There was not a middle grounds with Randy, he poured his heart and soul into it and was not only a force to be reckoned with, but the one person you wanted in your corner.” Randy lived for his two children. The NCDD was honored to have him as a member. We are proud of him. He will be missed but his legacy lives on.
Star in the Spotlight: Theresa Hofmeister
Theresa Hofmeister of San Diego combined sensitivity with serious advocacy in a beautiful way. Her mantra was “helping good people through bad times.” She also served as a Judge Pro Tem for San Diego and Los Angeles Counties. She graduated from the University of Southern California and Southwestern Law School. The causes she cared about included poverty alleviation, children and education. She served as President of the North County Business Builders Chapter and was a member of the Board of Trustees for the San Diego Non-Profit Violence Prevention Organization. Before opening up her own practice, she nobly served as a Los Angeles County Public Defender. She was honored to be asked to write a chapter for the Practice Guide for Attorneys. Theresa’s heart and work has left an indelible impression with those lives she helped. We are proud of her. She will be missed but her legacy lives on.
Star in the Spotlight: Gary Pirosko
Gary Pirosko of Denver, Colorado served eight years as a South Suburban Park police officer and deputy sheriff for Arapahoe County. In a single year, he issued more DUIs than the rest of the officers in his entire patrol division. Gary went on to graduate from the University of Denver College of Law after which he served four years in the Adams County District Attorney’s office. Gary opened up his own practice and trail blazed. In City of Denver v. Gary Pirosko, the City of Denver was forced to change their radar practices to abide by state law due to Gary’s challenging the city’s policies and procedures. Gary opened his home to many in need and “willingly did the dishes in exchange for a home cooked meal.” Gary lectured on DUIs and mentored many in his legal community. We are proud of him. He will be missed but his legacy lives on.
Star in the Spotlight: Jeffrey Sirrtola
Jeff Sirrtola, of Bisbee, Arizona truly loved DUI Defense. Anyone that ever met him knew this was his passion and he overcame some huge obstacles in order to practice it. Alongside his DUI justice crusade, he became a champion of rights for those who did not speak English. He published “Future Jurors May Need Interpreters” in the National Law Journal as well as “Traffic Stops of the Hispanics Accused” in the Defender (Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice). Jeff got his history degree from Cornell University and his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley. He loved Shakespeare and world travel. He cared deeply about justice and helping others. He was a volunteer for The Volunteers Lawyers Program. Jeff’s loyalty, enthusiasm and presence within the NCDD will be missed. We are proud of him. His legacy will live on.
Star in the Spotlight: Scott A. Smith
Scott A. Smith, of Warsaw, Indiana served his community first as a deputy prosecutor in St. Joseph, Allen, and Kosciusko counties before opening his own law practice. He was a part of the Kosciusko Leadership Academy. He spent most of his life in Kosciusko County where he graduated from Tippecanoe Valley High School and at the time of his death was a member of the Tippecanoe Valley High School Distinguished Alumni Committee. He loved Notre Dame football. He graduated from Warner University where he played basketball and was the team captain for 2 years. He went on to graduate from the Valparaiso University School of Law. Scott’s loyalty to his community and family (his father was a Warsaw City Councilman) demonstrate noble hometown values. He lived his life to give back to those who shaped him. We are proud of him. Although his life was cut short, his legacy is not.
Star in the Spotlight: Allen Trapp
Allen Trapp of Carrolton, Georgia was a DUI lawyer of the first caliber. He was quite the scholar. Most of all- for those who knew him, he was an encourager. By helping and teaching his colleagues, he helped many across the United States achieve justice. Allen graduated with honors from the University of Tennessee and magna cum laude from the Georgia State University of College of Law. He was board certified in DUI defense by the NCDD, a publisher of several books and articles, and a sought out lecturer. Allen joked he became a lawyer because “I did not have the talent to play first base for the Baltimore Orioles.” He was a major giver to his community. He was very involved with the Kiwanis Club, being honored with the highest national award in 2008, the Hixson fellowship. He is co-founder of Spare Shelter, a live radio remote to raise money and goods for the Carroll County Emergency Shelter, and was a recruiter for Dr. Seuss Day in Carroll (an event where books were read and given to children). Allen did honor to the meaning of a Southern gentleman. His manners and dress were always impeccable, and matched his stellar character. We are proud of him. His legacy will live on. After his passing, many of our members donate in his name to fund public defender scholarships, gifts that we know make Allen smile from above.
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