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Baltimore judge receives MSBA section’s criminal practice award

In this undated photo released by the Maryland Judiciary Office of Communications and Public Affairs, Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams poses for a photo. Judge Williams  who's overseeing the emotionally charged case of a young black man who died in police custody is a former federal prosecutor who used to put dirty police officers on trial. Friends and colleagues describe Baltimore Circuit Judge Williams as an even-handed judge who has a sense of humor but doesn’t tolerate any courtroom grandstanding. People on both sides of the Freddie Gray case agree that he is the best judge for the job.(Maryland Judiciary Office of Communications and Public Affairs via AP)

Baltimore City Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams 

Before Baltimore City Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams made national headlines presiding over the Freddie Gray police officer trials, he was a prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office.

Williams, who has been on the bench since 2005, will be recognized for his legal career accomplishments Thursday night with the Robert C. Heeney Award, presented annually by the Criminal Law and Practice Section of the Maryland State Bar Association.

The award has gone to judges, private practitioners and law professors since the section began giving it in 1982, according to Frederick County Circuit Judge Julie Stevenson Solt, the section’s chair.

“It’s for a career of outstanding service in the practice of criminal law,” she said. “It’s not just for one particular thing or one particular year.”

The ceremony is at 6 p.m. at Westminster Hall in Baltimore.

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