Tom Karas Criminal Justice Award

Established in 2004, the Tom Karas Criminal Justice Award, presented by the Board of Governors 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.

2018 Recipients

Walter B. NashWalter B. Nash, III graduated from the University of Arizona College of Law in 1971 and joined a local firm in Tucson. In 1978, he opened his own firm focusing on criminal defense. He has handled state and federal criminal cases at the trial and appellate levels throughout Arizona and elsewhere in the United States, including in the United States Supreme Court. Through the years he has served the profession in a variety of local, state, and national capacities. He has also lectured extensively in criminal law, is a frequent speaker at CLE courses, and continues to teach a class in criminal justice at the James Rogers College of Law. He presently serves on the Pima County Trial Court Commission and has been the recipient of the John J. Flynn Lifetime Achievement Award and the Robert Hooker Criminal Justice Award. He is an AV rated lawyer and has been recognized by a number of publications and organizations. 


David G. DericksonHon. (Ret.) David G. Derickson grew up in Tucson, graduated from Occidental College and completed his Juris Doctor degree at University of Arizona College of Law in 1969. He started his career at the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office with a string of seven jury verdict acquittals. He opened his private law practice in 1973 and tried scores of jury trials, including some of Arizona’s highest profile criminal cases.

At age 34, he was appointed by Governor Babbitt to the Superior Court bench. Before returning to private practice, he was appointed Presiding Criminal Judge in Maricopa County.

A former member of the State Bar Board of Governors, he is also a charter member of Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice (AACJ), serving as its President and longtime legislative liaison.   

An AV Preeminent rated attorney for decades, Dave received the prestigious John J. Flynn Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 in recognition of his years of service to criminal defense. Court-qualified as an expert witness on criminal justice matters, he speaks at CLE seminars and is frequently called upon by news media for comment on current issues. He chairs the Felony Defense Review Committee for Maricopa County, reviewing qualifications of defense attorneys for felony court appointments.



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

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