Three Detroit News journalists and a Kalamazoo broadcaster have been selected winners of the State Bar of Michigan 31st Annual Wade H. McCree Jr. Awards for the Advancement of Justice.
Print journalists David Shepardson, Norman Sinclair, and Ronald J. Hansen won for their ten-part series entitled "Detroit's Terror Trial."
The 2005 broadcast category winner is Mark Albert, reporter for WWMT-TV Kalamazoo, for his series of reports on "Judge Noecker."
The print entry chronicles the story of "a terrorism investigation gone bad, corrupted by an overzealous Justice Department and tainted by prosecutorial misconduct" according to Detroit News Publisher and Editor Mark Silverman. Reporters Norman Sinclair, Ronald Hansen and David Shepardson showed enormous tenacity in running down leads, searching through court documents, and gaining difficult interviews that were vital to the accuracy and depth of their stories.
Norman Sinclair has covered criminal justice for The Detroit News for 28 years. A past McCree Award recipient, he has won awards on both the state and local level, and was a 2003 Pulitzer Prize finalist. He is a Michigan State University alumnus.
Ronald Hansen has been a legal affairs and projects reporter with The Detroit News since April 2000. He has won several state and national awards, and was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2003.
David Shepardson has been a reporter with The Detroit News since 1995, and currently covers the U.S. District Court, FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies in Detroit. He was a finalist for the Gerald Loeb and National Journalism Awards.
The winning broadcast entry, "Judge Noecker," recounts WWMT-TV reporter and anchor Mark Albert's coverage of the case involving 45th circuit Court Judge James P. Noecker, who was removed from the bench by the Michigan Supreme Court last February for " significant misrepresentations of the truth made in testimony and to the public" involving the crash of his SUV into a general store just outside the city of Sturgis on March 12, 2003.
Mark Albert has been a reporter with WWMT-TV News 3 since 2001. Since then, he has won awards for writing, broadcasting and photography at the state and national level. Most recently, he covered the historic Iraqi elections live from the Persian Gulf.
State Bar of Michigan President Nancy J. Diehl will present the McCree Awards during the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday, April 16, 2005, at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. The McCree Awards are given each year to foster greater public understanding of the inherent values of our legal and judicial system.