This award is given annually to a Public Defender employee who demonstrates extraordinary dedication to the ideals of the Colorado State Public Defender system. All present employees in the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office, regardless of position, are eligible to receive this award. This is a distinguished award because the recipient is chosen by a committee of his or her peers. The award committee is comprised of present public defender employees, including 2 deputy state public defenders, 2 investigators, 2 secretaries, and 1 administrative staff person.
The award was established in 1995, as the System celebrated its 25th anniversary, to honor David F. Vela for his enduring commitment and dedication to providing indigent individuals with effective criminal defense advocacy and ensuring “that justice escape none” in the State of Colorado.