Ramsey County Bar Association to Honor Local Leaders

The Ramsey County Bar Association (RCBA) will honor Retired Judge Joanne Smith and Curt Goering with the 2017 Law Day Awards. The Law Day Awards presentation will take place at the Judges’ Dinner on Thursday, March 23 at the Town & Country Club.

Hon. Joanne Smith, Retired Ramsey County Judge, will receive the Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award and Curt Goering, Executive Director, Center for Victims of Torture (CVT), will receive the Liberty Bell Award.

Judge Smith was appointed to the Ramsey County bench in 1983, following her work in the Ramsey County Public Defender’s Office. She was elected Chief Judge in 1989, the first woman to hold that position in Minnesota. Judge Smith started the court’s chemical dependency initiative in 1998, its juvenile drug court in 2001 and adult substance abuse court in 2002.

In addition to her service as a judge in Ramsey County, Judge Smith has served the community as a volunteer in many other roles. She was a board member of the St. Paul Domestic Abuse Project and the St. Paul Youth Service Bureau. She was also a member of the Crime Victim-Witness Advisory Board.

The Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award is given each year to a lawyer who demonstrates substantial length of service to the bar and the community; has outstanding professional performance; has outstanding achievement in service to the citizens of Ramsey County; has leadership in the development of law in our community; and has substantial commitment to preserving and carrying out the vision of our Constitution.

Curt Goering joined the Center for Victims of Torture in 2012. In 2016, CVT launched a Call to Reject Torture. Demanding respect for the rule of law, under which torture is always illegal, CVT called upon civic leaders and every day Americans to take responsibility and publicly stand against a return to torture.

Under Mr. Goering’s leadership, CVT remains committed to supporting legislation that protects refugees and guarantees that survivors of torture have access to high-quality rehabilitative services. Mr. Goering is a well-known voice on issues impacting immigrants and refugees.

Mr. Goering was the Chief Operating Officer at Amnesty International for nearly 30 years before he joined CVT.

The Liberty Bell Award is given annually to a non-lawyer. The award is a token of appreciation from the RCBA to a member of the community who has promoted a better understanding of government; encouraged respect for the law and the courts; stimulated a deeper sense of individual responsibility under the law; contributed to the effective functioning of our institutions of government; and inculcated a better understanding and appreciation of the rule of law.

The Liberty Bell Award has been a tradition of the RCBA since 1964, and the Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award has been awarded annually since 1987.