Adams will be honored at ‘Justice Is the New Black’ ACLU Idaho event February 7

Boise, ID—The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho is pleased to announce Kootenai County Chief Public Defender John Adams as the recipient of the 2014 Dave Judy Civil Rights Service Award.  The award recognizes an Idahoan who exemplifies commitment and service to advancing the fundamental principles that have championed the cause for civil rights in the state. The Award will be presented on Friday, February 7th at the ACLU of Idaho’s 2014 Justice Is the New Black annual event at Boise State University.
“Public defenders have one of the toughest, yet most important jobs in the American legal system today,” said Monica Hopkins, ACLU of Idaho Executive Director.  “Their role is to defend a person’s constitutional rights against an all-mighty government and ensure that due process and fairness under the law is carried out. And, despite a broken public defender system in the state, John has been able to establish what is arguably the best public defense delivery system possible.  We are honored to recognize John’s life-long commitment to justice.”
John has served as Kootenai County’s Public Defender for over 17 years.  He was admitted to the Idaho State Bar in 1985 after graduating from the University of Arizona School of Law.  He practiced law in Boise before accepting a position as a public defender in Kootenai County in 1996.
A 2010 National Legal Aid and Defenders Association (NLADA) report on Idaho’s public defense system, praised John Adams for running what may be the best public defender structure in the state.  “[T]he public defender office maintains the most client-centered approach to representation of any Idaho system we observed during our study. They are litigious, and as a result the office has more cases on appeal than the larger Ada County public defender office. Adams is justifiably proud of the zealous advocacy provided by his attorneys on behalf of their clients.”
In a 2013 Coeur d’ Alene Press story by David Cole about Kootenai County’s public defender office and John Adams, former Country Prosecutor Bill Douglas was quoted as saying “John Adams has been the best public defender in the history of Kootenai County.  He is the most qualified criminal defense lawyer that I know, and he has saved the county vast sums of money through the efficient running of his office." Douglas served as the county's prosecutor for 20 years.
The ACLU of Idaho will present the 2014 Dave Judy Civil Rights Service Award to Mr. John Adams on Friday February 7th.
The Dave Judy Civil Rights Service Award honors the life-long commitment and work of ACLU of Idaho member Dave Judy, who passed away in 2012.  Dave was an active member since the founding of the organization.  He took pride in carrying the ACLU banner at public functions, such as the Martin Luther King Jr. March, Boise Pride and other similar events. His life is remembered by the countless hours he dedicated to ensure a better Idaho for all.
The 2014 Justice Is the New Black Celebration, featuring a keynote from acclaimed actress and transgendered activist, Laverne Cox from the Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black, takes place Friday, February 7th at the BSU’s Stueckle Sky Center. For tickets or more information at visit: