Kimberly Stevens (’92) receives third annual Kirk Osborn Award

Kimberly C. Stevens (’92), who is an adjunct Trial Practice professor and AAJ Trial Team coach at the Wake Forest University School of Law, is the 2009 recipient of the Kirk Osborn Award, which is given by the Fair Trial Initiative (FTI).

The third annual award was presented on Oct. 8 at the Carolina Club on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Walter E. Dellinger, attorney, professor and former United States Solicitor General, was the keynote speaker.

The FTI, a Durham, N.C.-based organization, aims to mitigate the influence of racial, socioeconomic and other personal characteristics upon trial and punishment practices.

The Kirk Osborn Award was founded in 2007, and is intended to recognize an attorney who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to capital defense, as well as to mentoring young attorneys. The recipient embodies the remarkable spirit and character of Kirk Osborn, a former Orange County Public Defender who was one of the first attorneys involved with FTI and personified its mission.

In her 17-year career, Stevens has argued 23 capital cases in both state and federal courts. She is currently the Assistant Capital Defender in the North Carolina Office of Capital Defender in addition to teaching trial practice and holding a position of trial team coach at the Wake Forest law school.

The association between Stevens and the FTI began when Stevens enlisted the aid of several FTI fellows in the trial of Quincy Allen. Together, Stevens and the fellows were able to acquire Allen a plea deal that likely allowed him to avoid capital punishment in the midst of a racially charged murder case.

– By Will Johnston