'Right to Counsel' award to be presented by CDAM, March 1

Attorney Gerald K. Evelyn will be presented with the 2019 Right to Counsel Award at the Annual Dinner of the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan (CDAM) on March 1 at the Auburn Hills Marriott.

“Gerald K. Evelyn has built a career that embodies style, grace, and a soft-spoken calmness,” said Harry Mihas, a member of the CDAM Board of Directors. “Mr. Evelyn blends that with a burning passion for justice, fairness, and civil rights. The result is four decades of respect from the courts, the defense bar, and the prosecutors who face him in state and federal trial and appellate courts. But most importantly, it has made him one of the most trusted attorneys among defendants in Detroit.”

A graduate of Michigan State University, where he was at the forefront of the black student movement, Evelyn attended Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C., where a “crucial part of the mission is a commitment to breaking down barriers and providing equal justice for all,” according to Mihas.

Evelyn began his legal career at Wayne County Neighborhood Legal Services and then the State Defender’s Office. In 1981, he went into private practice with his mentor, Myzell Sowell Sr., a noted criminal defense attorney.

“Since then, Mr. Evelyn has followed in his mentor’s steps,” said Mihas. “He helped create precedent by successfully defending Judge Waterstone in the Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court. He received a directed verdict for George Cushingberry and he stood strongly at the side of Bobby Ferguson during the federal prosecution of Kwame Kilpatrick.

“But as stellar as Mr. Evelyn has been in court, he also has spent most of his career mentoring young attorneys and teaching criminal law and trial advocacy to us here at CDAM, ICLE, and the Wayne County Criminal Advocacy Program,” said Mihas, noting that Evelyn was the recipient of the prestigious Leonard R. Gilman Award from the Federal Bar Association in 2016.

Tickets for the CDAM Annual Dinner cost $75 per person and can be ordered online at cdam@wildapricot.org.