The Virginia State Bar Criminal Law Section has presented its 2016 Harry L. Carrico Professionalism Award to Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael N. Herring.
Among those nominating Herring were Washington lawyers James A. Bensfield and Jonathan Kossak who represented Michael Kenneth McAlister in a successful petition for a pardon from the governor in 2015, after McAlister served twenty-nine years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit. Herring publicly supported that petition.
“Mr. Herring did not need to make these statements (supporting McAlister) in such a public way,” Bensfield and Kossak wrote. “He did it because he is a man of integrity, courage, and justice…. He is the sort of prosecutor we all hope exists – an advocate for justice – not only for the victims of crime, but for those who the system may, every so often, wrong.”
Retired Richmond Circuit Court Judge Richard D. Taylor Jr. also wrote in support of Herring. “The integrity, scholarship and compassion that he has exhibited on a day-to-day basis for decades cannot and should not be taken for granted by us,” Taylor said.
The award annually recognizes an individual who has made a singular and unique contribution to the improvement of the Virginia criminal justice system.
The award is named for the former Virginia Supreme Court chief justice who promoted the ideals of professionalism during his 42 years on the state’s highest court.
Justice Carrico’s daughter, retired Judge Lucretia A. Carrico, presented the award Feb. 5 during the 46th Annual Criminal Law Seminar in Williamsburg.
Herring started his career as an associate at Hunton & Williams, later joining the commonwealth’s attorney’s office in 1992, where he served as a senior felony trial attorney for violent crimes and narcotics offenses. He returned to the private sector in 1996 at the LeClair Ryan firm where his practice focused on medical malpractice defense and criminal defense.
Prior to his 2006 election as Richmond commonwealth’s attorney, he was a partner at the law firm of Bricker & Herring where he practiced criminal law and medical malpractice law.