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Kathleen McQuillan and Suzanne Damjanovich

12 April, 2024
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2024 John Adams Award - Kathleen McQuillan and Suzanne Damjanovich

12 April, 2024

On March 14, 2024, the 2024 John Adams Award was presented to investigator Kathleen McQuillan and paralegal Suzanne Damjanovich at the FDOM/MTACDL conference in Chico Hot Springs.

CJA Supervising Attorney Wendy Holton kicked off the award presentation by introducing the topic:

The John Adams award is given annually to recognize outstanding work on behalf of the CJA panel.   It was named to honor John Adams and all those who risk wealth and fame to stand with those who are least favored and most vulnerable.   

As the United States Supreme Court recognized in Gideon v Wainwright: “Any person haled into Court who is too poor to hire a lawyer cannot be assumed a fair trial unless counsel is provided for him.  This seems to be an obvious truth.”

But an attorney doesn’t work alone.  The theme of this year’s seminar is “Standing Strong Together” because we know that it takes a village – in our case a team – to provide the best representation.   So, this year we recognize a fabulous team that we know helps one of our panel members, Sandy Selvey, provide excellent representation to his clients.

Because of them the clients are happy – because they are heard.  The discovery is organized and analyzed.   Witnesses are interviewed.   Briefs are filed.   And the results are routinely amazing!

Congratulations to investigator Kathleen McQuillan and paralegal Suzanne Damjanovich!


Next, CJA attorney Sandy Selvey presented the award:

I repeat: congratulations to Investigator Kathleen McQuillan and paralegal Suzie Damjanovich!

The John Adams award that MACDL has rightfully bestowed on these two experts in their respective roles is so well deserved.

Kathleen and Suzie are the people that make the Selvey Legal Team competent and effective in our efforts to provide our clients with the best representation possible.

I have had the honor and privilege of having Investigator Kathleen do my investigative work for over 20 years and Suzie, truly one the of best paralegals, for the last 11 years.

Kathleen knows her job and her interviews of defense and prosecution witnesses seem to always provide important information, sometimes in favor of our clients.  A very “to the point” case was US v D. D. a multi-defendant case with voluminous discovery, charges including sex trafficking and drug distribution: assaults and robberies with firearms.   D. was looking at several counts of at least mandatory 10 to life.

We listened to D. insisting he was not guilty of any armed robberies at different motels.  Kathleen poured through the Government’s discovery, listened to audio recordings, reviewed video, obtained line-up photos and booking photos, and ultimately was able to prove without a doubt that the Government’s key witness/victim was lying about D.

D. ultimately plead guilty to misdemeanor possession with time served.

The Government's witness was later charged with perjury.

Suzie keeps the Selvey ship afloat.  She knows exactly what I need to have from the Government's discovery in my trial notebooks.  She can actually read my handwriting which she then turns into professional legal documents worthy of filing.  At a moment’s notice, she does my legal research somehow always finding cases for my pre-trial motions.  And importantly, in 11 years I have never failed to comply with all due pre-trial motion due dates and/or be late or miss a court proceeding.

As some people may know, I do tend to take extended vacations now and then.  I can leave the country—get off the grid, literally—confident that the Selvey legal team is taking care of business.

I do not go to trial without Suzie and Kathleen being at counsel table.  Suzie is damn good at jury selection; Kathleen rides heard on the discovery.

An important aspect of having Kathleen and Suzie being essential members of the "TEAM" is that our clients are well served and develop trust and confidence in my representation of them, because they all know I have this legal team who are always looking after their best interests.  Suzie takes their calls and Kathleen visits with them and nothing gets missed.

As a Federal District Court Judge told me more than once while arguing with the court, "don't gild the lily, Mr. Selvey" so, I could go on forever talking about Suzie and Kathleen and their talents. Better to just wrap it up by simply saying the Selvey Legal Team would not function without Kathleen and Suzie as is known by those familiar with my practice.

To you Kathleen and Suzie: thank you for your continued willingness work with me.

To MACDL: Thank you for your support in recognizing Suzie and Kathleen.

And last but not least, a big thanks to CJA Supervising Attorney Wendy Holton for your amazing, effective work for us CJA attorneys.


Kathleen and Suzanne at Chico

Read About the John Adams Award