Tom Karas Criminal Justice Award

Established in March 2004 (language amended March 2006), this award recognizes that 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.

2024 Recipient

Susan L. Corey grew up in a military family, graduated from high school in the Philippines and earned a track scholarship to Oklahoma State University (800, 4x400, cross country). She attended law school at the University of Tulsa and was a member of the Law Review. With Terry Adams, she argued her first capital case in the Arizona Supreme Court in 1995. The case was reversed for re-sentencing.

Partnered with the incomparable Garrett Simpson, she asserted, in both the Trial Court and the Arizona Supreme Court, that Arizona’s capital statute was unconstitutional, based on their intensive investigation revealing that nearly every first-degree murder has at least one aggravating factor. The statute has since been modified by the legislature, eliminating some aggravators. In 2018, she received an outstanding performance award from APDA. In 2019 she received the David Goldberg award for excellence in capital litigation. She is a Board Member at the Arizona Bar’s Trial College, teaches capital voir dire in Colorado and Arizona and is an adjunct professor at ASU. Her greatest joy is her son, Ray Polk, an officer in the US Army, whose tremendous talents and great heart make her proud every day.

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
2016 John M. Sears
2017 Stephen M. Weiss
2018 Walter B. Nash, III
Hon. David G. Derickson
2019 Dwane M. Cates
Thomas N. Crowe
2020 Richard L. Lougee, Jr.
Randall S. Papetti
2021 Richard D. Coffinger
2022 Lori Voepel
2023 Margarita Silva
2024 Susan L. Corey
This page is managed by Carrie Sherman