Tribute to Stephanie Page
For 34 years, Stephanie Page's representation of her clients has set the standard of representation for all criminal defendants, not just those who are indigent. No amount of money could have purchased better representation for any of Stephanie's clients during those 34 years. She has spent her entire career defending her clients with extraordinary skill and passion and unselfishly sharing her time, experience, and work with anyone, other than prosecutors, who want to learn or help a client.
Over the course of her career as a trial lawyer, Stephanie has taken on numerous responsibilities in addition to her own cases. She has supervised generations of attorneys. She has developed programs for MCLE and she has been the editor of numerous MCLE publications, often being the attorney with the vision to conceive of the idea for the book. She created the extensive bank of forensics information at CPCS and became the first Forensic Services Director. She became the Master of the List Serves, ensuring that all knowledge was shared. She has never been too busy to help with a training program.
Many of us individually, and the defense bar as a whole, have been enriched by her commitment, knowledge, talent and example. She has been a brilliant teacher and roll model. She has embraced the private bar with her generosity of time and desire to share her knowledge. She has built a strong bond between the private bar and CPCS.
Stephanie was the first woman from the public counsel division to be named to the murder list.
She received the first Defender Award given out by the MBA.
She and Larry Maguire were the first public defenders ever inducted into the American College of Trial Attorneys.
She has had an extraordinary number of jury trials, and she has an astounding record of wins.
When Stephanie received the Duggan Award in 1998 from CPCS, twenty-five of her colleagues wrote a letter to Bill Leahy describing Stepanie-the-public-defender as being the sum of four parts:
1. One part is passion. Her clients are the immediate recipients of her undying loyalty. The intensity with which she defends each client is palpable.
2. The second part is warrior. Her colleagues described her as Rambo with a brain. She never feared any judge, prosecutor, witness or jury.
3. The third part is leader. By example, she has made everyone she works with understand that some of our best and most important victories come from simply having fought well and fought hard when others would have walked away. While Stephanie was preparing and trying the high profile dominatrix case, she was simultaneously preparing an untriable B & E/daytime case for trial. That client had no chance of winning, but he wanted a trial. And Stephanie gave him the best prepared, best tried case imaginable. She fought every bit as hard for him as she did for her high profile client. When they lost, her client knew he had been represented by a lawyer who respected him, who fought for him, who believed in his fight and who never gave up.
4. The fourth part is technician. She is methodical, detail oriented, learned and imaginative. Stephanie has made it her life’s mission to master every aspect of case preparation known to the defense bar. The FBI should send its agents to her to learn how to investigate a case.
At the end of Stephanie’s first year as a public defender, her supervisor Marty Rosenthal, concerned about public defender burn-out, wrote in her evaluation that “Stephanie could strike a better balance in getting less deeply and less frequently bothered by the inhumaneness, insensitivity, stupidity and arrogance of adversaries and judges.” Well, Stephanie never burnt out. She never stopped being deeply bothered by inhumaneness, insensitivity, arrogance and stupidity. We owe her a debt of gratitude for her work these last 3 ½ decades and for all of the benefits our clients will enjoy for the next 3 ½ decades because of her great work.
Thank you, Stephanie.