Alan R. Bussard, 2014 Recipient of the John Adams Award

photoAlan R. L. Bussard recently received the John Adams Award from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland for his work as a member of the Criminal Justice Act (CJA) panel. Under the CJA, all persons charged with federal offenses who are financially unable to obtain adequate representation are entitled to appointment of counsel. This panel fields representation of about 25 percent of the eligible defendants which makes a heavy burden for all participants.

In addition to serving on this panel, Mr. Bussard represented private clients in the federal court and served for years on the panel representing indigents in drug conspiracy, bank fraud, money laundering and other federal felony cases.

This year the award was presented by United States District Judges James K. Bredar, Richard D. Bennett, Catherine C. Blake and United States Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Sullivan at a ceremony in Baltimore. It is presented each year by the U.S. District Court to the one attorney on the CJA Panel who over the past year has best exemplified the qualities exhibited by the patriot and former President John Adams in representing indigent clients. The award is named in honor of John Adams for his role in defending the British soldiers, including the captain, who were charged with murder in the Boston Massacre in 1772. John Adams received personal threats and suffered professional disgrace for agreeing to take on this unpopular case. He was successful in getting an acquittal for the captain and five of the British soldiers and the other two were convicted only of manslaughter. John Adams later went on to be successful in more well-known areas.

This award says something wonderful about our justice system: That poor people charged with crimes in this district can get the quality and caliber of attorneys like Alan Bussard, said Jim Wyda, Federal Public Defender for the District of Maryland at the presentation ceremony. Those who have cases with and opposing Alan Bussard know that zealous does not begin to describe how he approaches his work and the dedication to his clients is unsurpassed. Clearly, the Federal bench recognizes and appreciates what Mr. Bussard has donated to the court and to the cause of justice for indigents. Quietly, and with a generous spirit, he has done good work for years beyond this panel work, which in itself is quite noteworthy

Baltimore County Bar Association members know Mr. Bussard’s commitment to enhancing the profession from his years as chair of BCBA committees and his three terns on the Maryland State Bar Association’s Board of Governors. He also served as chair of the MSBA Judicial Appointments Committee and Solo and Small Firm Practice Section.

Mr. Bussard’s 2007-2008 term as BCBA President saw unprecedented growth in the number of well attended meeting. He counted more than 63 CLE programs and 75 total committee meetings during his term. He also spent hours teaching and lecturing at various programs including at the University of Baltimore. His presidential theme was “honoring the past, while looking to the future” and now it is time to honor Alan Bussard and thank him for his exemplary service.

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