Curtin receives ABA Minister of Justice Award

Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018
Article Picture
Photo Credit: American Bar Association
MBA member Kevin J. Curtin accepts the 2018 Norm Maleng Minister of Justice Award from members of the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section (CJS). From left: CJS Delegate Stephen A. Saltzburg, Curtin and CJS Chair Lucian E. Dervan.

Massachusetts Bar Association member Kevin J. Curtin, senior appellate counsel for the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office, has been selected by the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section (CJS) as the 2018 recipient of the Norm Maleng Minister of Justice Award. The section honored Curtin on Nov. 2 at the CJS Annual Fall Institute in Washington, D.C., hailing him as the embodiment of the ABA philosophy that a prosecutor’s role “is to seek justice, not merely to convict.” 

Curtin was specifically commended for his leadership in authoring several major criminal justice resolutions, the most notable of which denounced the Turkish government’s mass detainment of lawyers, judges and journalists in 2016. He has written additional resolutions to highlight the importance of conviction integrity units, as well as to address mandatory minimum sentences, Miranda warning translations and immigration issues. For these and other contributions to the field of criminal justice, Curtin was appointed by 2015-16 ABA President Paulette Brown to the Task Force on Building Trust in the American Legal System.

According to the ABA selection criteria, honorees are driven to protect the innocent and convict the guilty, to guard the rights of the accused while enforcing the rights of the public, and to maintain the highest legal and ethical standards. The award takes its name from the late ABA member, Norm Maleng, who gained a reputation as a compassionate and fair-minded prosecutor during his nearly 30-year career in Seattle, Wash.

Employed since 1995 by the Middlesex County DA’s Office, Curtin has tried approximately 100 jury cases and handled more than 100 criminal appeals. He has spent the last seven years as an active MBA member and leader, serving on the Amicus Curiae Committee, the Criminal Justice Section Council, and the Civil Rights & Social Justice Section Council. Most recently, Curtin was nominated as one of four MBA representatives to the ABA House of Delegates, which meets twice each year.

Prior to receiving the ABA’s Minister of Justice Award, Curtin earned similar recognition when he accepted the MBA's 2017 Access to Justice Prosecutor Award. Presented at the MBA Annual Dinner, the award celebrates a state or federal prosecutor with a distinguished record in public service and a demonstrated commitment to justice.

Curtin is a 1988 graduate of Boston College Law School, where he currently teaches as an adjunct professor. He is also an instructor at the Harvard Law School Trial Advocacy Workshop and the National Trial Advocacy College at the University of Virginia School of Law.