Tom Karas Criminal Justice Award

Recognizing 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. (Award established 2004; amended language 3/17/06)

2022 Recipient

Lori Voepel, a 30-year appellate attorney, has dedicated much of her career to criminal law, including three capital cases and hundreds of criminal appeals. Lori’s passion for criminal justice began as a student attorney with the Pima County Public Defender’s Office while attending UofA College of Law.

Following graduation and clerkships on the Arizona Supreme Court and Arizona Court of Appeals, Lori practiced for many years with longtime mentor, Michael Kimerer. Lori and Mike represented Arizona death row inmate, Debra Milke, for 15 years, finally winning her freedom after 24 years of incarceration. Lori briefed and argued Debra’s federal habeas appeals in the U.S. District Court and Ninth Circuit, as well as the state court appeals on remand, resulting in ultimate dismissal of all charges. Lori was also an appellate partner at Jones, Skelton & Hochuli, handling civil and criminal appeals for 17 years.

Lori is currently a member of Beus Gilbert McGroder, specializing in high stakes plaintiff’s litigation, catastrophic injury/wrongful death, and appeals.

Lori served for many years on the AWLA Steering Committee and A New Leaf. She is recognized by The Best Lawyers in America (Appellate Practice), is AVPreeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell, and received the AACJ Jack Williams Appellate Achievement Award.

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
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