Defenders of Justice

Each year, the North Carolina Justice Center presents its Defender of Justice Awards to honor individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions in the fight against poverty in four areas that reflect the scope of the Justice Center’s work – legislative advocacy, policy research and advocacy, litigation, and grassroots empowerment.


Lifetime Champions
THE HONORABLE CHARLES BECTON Former Judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals
ANITA BROWN-GRAHAM Professor of Public Law and Government, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
TED FILLETTE Assistant Director/Senior Managing Attorney of Legal Aid North Carolina-Charlotte (Ret.)
JOHN MCMILLAN Attorney with Manning Fulton & Skinner
CATHY TAMSBERG Associate Pastor at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church (Ret.)

Grassroots Empowerment
ADRIENNE KENNEDY Director of Seeds of H.O.P.E. Project & Disaster Recovery Center
RENEE SEKEL Founder of Save Our Schools

CHRISTINE MUMMA Executive Director of North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence

Policy Research and Advocacy
CAROLYN McALLASTER Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law / Founder, Duke AIDS Legal Project and Duke HIV/AIDS Policy Clinic
ERIC ZOGRY State Juvenile Defender



Suzanne & Matt Case
Fred Mills in Memory of Debra King
Noel & Richard Moore


Betty Craven & Michael Warner
Donna & the Hon. Dr. Eric Mansfield


Dean Suzanne Reynolds & Hoppy Elliot
Dr. Jesse White


Marica Angle & Mark Trustin
Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC
Mary Braxton Joseph & Ambassador James Joseph
Rebecca and John Britton - Britton Law, PA
Center for Responsible Lending / Self Help Credit Union
Tony Dowling
Ken Eudy
Stephanie Fanjul
The AM & Ruth Z Fleishman Foundation
Susan & Chris Graebe

Lapas Law Offices, PLLC
Susan Lupton & Bob Schall
Manning Fulton & Skinner
Ann McColl
Kim-Marie McLellan
North State Bank
Barbara & the Hon. Billy Richardson
The Richardson Law Firm
Romeo Wiggins & Company
Julienne Smrcka & Dr. Harvey Allen
Tally & Tally
Tin Fulton Walker & Owen (Luke Largess)
Sen. Terry & Ted Van Duyn


ACLU of North Carolina
Alston & Bird
Advisors Financial Group
Beaver Courie Attorneys at Law
Suzanne Begnoche
Brittany Edwards, Robert Elliot, Helen Parsonage
Dede Carney
Beverley Clark
Cone Health Foundation
Laura Crumpler & John Dowd
Anne Dahle
Patsy & H. Lee Davis
Jenny & Kirk Deviere
Jo Anne & Shelley Earp
Melissa & Larry Essary
Everett, Gaskins & Hancock, LLP
Financial Protection Law Center - Mal Maynard
Lise & Rick Glazier
Lisa Grafstein
Nancy Hodgson
Anne and Sam Hummel
Nancy & the Hon. Sig Hutchinson
Janet & Pat Hoy
Rep. Verla Insko
Bob Jackson
Claudia and Bobby Kadis
Susan & Mike Land
Melinda Lawrence & Greg Malhoit
Dr. Jennifer Leeman & Tom Munk
Tammie & Lou Lesesne
Lucy & Javier Martinez
Carlene McNulty
Julie Merricks & Sue Hauser
Ann McKown & Daniel Hudgins
Jennifer Meyer & Rep. Graig Meyer
Rep. Marcia Morey
Mutual of America
Gene Nichol
NC Advocates for Justice
NC Association of Educators
NC Child
North Carolina Council of Churches
North Carolina State AFL-CIO
Peg O’Connell in memory of Insurance Commissioner Jim Long
Penry | Riemann PLLC
Jane Pinsky & Dr. Rich Adelman
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic
Poyner Spruill, LLP
Lisa & US Cong. David Price
Bryna & Greg Rapp
Dorothy & the Hon. Ray Rapp
Keith Rivers
The Hon. Deborah Ross
Jennifer Rudinger
Lao Rupert & Steve Schewel
Noelle & Rob Schofield
Patricia Schofield
Gerda Stein & Lee Norris
The Hon. Linda Stephens
Angilique & Adam Svolto
Chandra Taylor
Carol Teal & Bill Wilson
Kate & Allen Torrey
Diane Vannais & Charles Waldren
Mona Lisa Wallace - Wallace & Graham
Jenny Trautman Warburg
Debbie and Gregg Warren
Weaver Street Realty (Gary Phillips)
Omega & the Honorable Gregory Weeks
Jane Wettach
Barbara Wiedemann & Chris Fitzsimon
Williams Mullen (Rick Zechini)
Carole & Brad Wilson
John I. Wilson
Leslie Winner & Gerald Postema
Susan & Duncan Yaggy

Past Defenders of Justice Award Recipients