Board member Peter Gross was delighted to present our 2013 Kreppner Awards to Cynthia Fromstein and Jonathan Shime at our Annual General Meeting on September 23, 2013.
Before the award presentation, HALCO Board Chair Michael Capp explained that the awards honour the late James Kreppner by recognizing unparalleled achievement in advocating on behalf of or bettering the lives of people living with HIV or co-infected with HIV and Hepatitis C.
James was an original member of the Board of Directors of HALCO and continued serving on our Board until his death four years ago. Courageous and strong in his belief that the wrongs suffered by people living with HIV and Hepatitis C were not to be tolerated, he fought hard for justice despite great cost to his own health. James was a local, national and international leader, and no matter how hard he worked or how difficult his own health needs, he was always a willing ear, a source of advice and a helping hand to those who needed him. For more about James, please see our HALCO news Fall 2009 newsletter.
Both Cynthia and Jonathan are highly respected criminal defence lawyers. Cynthia, a sole practitioner, has been a true friend and supporter of HALCO and the HIV community for many years. Jonathan, a partner at Cooper, Sandler, Shime & Bergman LLP, became involved when, as he describes it, someone named Ryan (HALCO’s Executive Director) called him about four years ago to ask for 15 minutes of free legal advice…
Both are exceptional in that each not only advocates tirelessly for his or her clients facing criminal charges, but also contributes time and expertise to systemic advocacy to oppose the expansive and unjust use of the criminal law in relation HIV non-disclosure. In their work with and on behalf of people living with HIV, they embody the highest ideals of the legal profession.
Each stands with people who are socially marginalized, stigmatized and disadvantaged – and treats them, their cases, and the larger issues at play with intelligence, dignity and respect. Their contributions cannot be underestimated. It is no exaggeration to state that their hard work, dedication and commitment have kept people living with HIV from being criminally convicted, sent to jail, and registered as sex offenders.
Their contributions include:
- Representation of people living with HIV in HIV non-disclosure criminal cases
- Case consultation with HALCO and other community legal clinic lawyers, and senior policy analysts at the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
- Case consultation with lawyers, especially junior lawyers and lawyers outside of the Greater Toronto Area, representing people living with HIV in HIV non-disclosure criminal cases
- Membership in the Ontario Working Group on Criminal Law & HIV Exposure’s (CLHE) legal strategy working group
- Participation in drafting and review of submissions for interventions before courts of appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada
- Review and comment on CLHE’s Consultation on Prosecutorial Guidelines for Ontario Cases Involving Non-disclosure of Sexually Transmitted Infections: Community Report and Recommendations to the Attorney General of Ontario (June 2011)
- Participation in meetings with the Ontario Attorney General and with representatives from the Ministry of the Attorney General
- Reviewing documents and providing ongoing strategic advice in relation to CLHE’s Prosecutorial Guidelines Campaign
- Speaking at public events to raise awareness about the irrationality and injustice of the criminalization of HIV (e.g., Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network’s annual symposium on human rights and law; Day to Oppose Criminalization of HIV symposium and rally in Toronto in 2012).
Cynthia represented PASAN at an inquest into the death of a person living with HIV in prison. Jonathan was lead counsel for the coalition of community interveners before the Supreme Court of Canada in the M and DC (HIV non-disclosure) matters as well as the Bedford matter (sex work).
James would have been very proud of this year’s Kreppner Award recipients. Just as James did, Cynthia and Jonathan work tirelessly for fairness and justice.