STEUBEN COUNTY, N.Y. (WETM) – The Steuben County Public Defenders Office will be receiving one of the state’s highest recognitions from the New York State Defenders Association.

The New York State Defenders Association will be presenting the Office with the Jonathan E. Gradess Service of Justice Award on Monday, July 31 at the association’s 56th annual conference in Saratoga.

This award is presented annually to individuals and organizations that have supported the NYSDA and the defender community in a unique way. This includes every single indigent defense provider, governmental, private and not-for-profit agency in the state.

NYSDA Executive Director Susan Bryant wrote “This award is being given in recognition of your Office’s unrelenting efforts to ensure that the intent and letter of the discovery reforms are fulfilled,” in a letter to Chief Defender Shawn Sauro. “You and your staff have faced constant efforts to prevent those reforms and you have achieved successful outcomes for your clients. Our legal staff are proud to support you in this fight. For these reasons and more, we are privileged to honor you.”

Sauro noted that this award recognizes the achievement of the rigorous requirements of the State Office of Indigent Legal Services and the development of an office of the highest caliber in a time of crisis level legal professional shortages across the state. He also mentioned that the quality of Steuben’s services and care for their clients has increased exponentially with innovative strategies to change the face of public defense.

“This is one of the highest honors from NYSDA. I couldn’t be more proud and grateful that I have had the opportunity to work with my team and witness firsthand the excellence they bring each and every day,” said Sauro.