Tom Karas Criminal Justice Award

This award, established in 2004, recognizes a criminal defense practitioner who has worked tirelessly to advance the principles of criminal justice by representing clients or the public with integrity, fairness, tenacity, creativity, brilliance and, above all, professionalism.

2016 RecipientJohn M. Sears

JOHN M. SEARS was born and raised in Washington DC, graduating from the University of Maryland in 1972, and from George Washington University Law School in 1975. John and his wife Judy moved to Prescott in 1978, where he limits his practice to criminal defense.

He holds the highest possible rating from Martindale-Hubbell, and is an Arizona State Bar Certified Criminal Law Specialist. He has been named a Super Lawyer of the Southwest, one of Arizona’s 100 Best Trial Lawyers, and is named in both Best Lawyers and Best Law Firms in America. John was a founding member of the Arizona Justice Project, which seeks justice for the innocent and the wrongfully imprisoned.  In 2011, John received the John J. Flynn Lifetime Achievement Award from Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice (AACJ), the statewide criminal defense lawyers organization, becoming only the eighth recipient and the first from outside Phoenix and Tucson. Currently, John serves as president of AACJ.



Previous Recipients

The award has been presented to:

2004     Fredric F. Kay
2005 Robert J. Hirsh
2006 Donna Lee Elm
2007 Michael B. Scott (posthumously)
2008 Mark Budoff (posthumously)
Robert J. Hooker (posthumously)
2009 Bruce S. Griffen
2010 Michael D. Kimerer
2011 Michael L. Piccarreta
2012 Darrow K. Soll (posthumously)
2013 Larry A. Hammond
2014 Stanton Bloom
2015 Tom Henze

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