Judge Wins Honor for Speech
Tuesday November 17, 2009, Herald/Review
Cochise County Presiding Judge Wallace R. Hoggatt has won first place in the 2009 American Bar Association Judge Edward R. Finch Law Day Speech Award contest.
He received the honor for his speech, "Fated to be Free," delivered as the keynote address at Cochise County's Law Day ceremony. Superior Court 'Clerk Denise Lundin, the co-chair of the local Law Day committee, announced the award.
Hoggatt’s speech, prepared to celebrate the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, explored Lincoln’s complexities and apparent contradictions for modern Americans seeking guidance about how best to remember the 16th U.S. president.
The Finch Award was created more than 40 years ago to encourage speeches that help the public to understand the rule of law and the positive role law plays in American society. Award entries are evaluated on a number of criteria, including originality and clarity, educational value, and public impact.
Hoggatt said he was surprised by the news that he had won.
“I thought we (in Cochise County) were in the running for another Law Day reward – and now I’ve learned that our county Law Day program as a whole placed in the top 12 events in the country – but I really didn’t expect to win first place in the Finch competition.”
He said he was especially pleased to win for this year’s talk on Lincoln.
“I’ve long been intrigued by Lincoln, and I’m glad I had the chance to show why his memory remains so powerful in the public mind.”
Both Lundin and her Law Day Committee co-chair, Court Administrator Karen Ferrara were very excited to hear this news. Lundin said “Cochise County is fortunate not only for this prestigious award given to Judge Hoggatt, but also for the strong support he also gives to our annual Law Day events.”
Ferrara added, “We have such a shoestring budget and receiving national recognition is something we should all be proud of.”
This is the second time Hoggatt has placed in the top three in the Finch Award competition. In 2005, the last time before this year that he was the keynote speaker at the Cochise County Law Day event, he won second place honors for his speech, “The Republic of Jurors.”
“Fated to be Free”, along with other speeches and lectures by Hoggatt can be found at the “special events and lectures” link at http://cochise.az.gov/cochise_court_administration.aspx?id=230.
Hoggatt writes a column that’s published in the Herald/Review. It normally appears on the fourth Sunday of each month.
See a scan of the original newspaper article (PDF).