2015 Frank J. Kelley Distinguished Public Service Award

Frank J. Kelley Distinguished Public Service Award given to longtime Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor, and posthumously to initial PAAM Executive Director

Since 1998, the State Bar of Michigan has awarded the Frank J. Kelley Distinguished Public Service Award recognizing extraordinary governmental service by a member of the State Bar of Michigan. Criteria for the award are:

  • Service in public office (elected or appointed official) in a way that strengthens the American system of justice under the law
  • Demonstration of the highest standards of integrity, fairness, leadership, excellence, dedication to principle, and dedication to the ideals of democracy
  • Has made a significant lasting contribution to the nation, the state, or the community in which the public servant lives or serves

This year, the SBM gave three such awards, including two to attorneys who devoted careers to prosecution service.

2015 Award Recipients

Timothy A Baughman Timothy A. Baughman has served Michigan’s citizens for 40 years.  He joined the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office in 1975 and became chief of research, training, and appeals in 1985.  He has argued more than 70 times in the Michigan Supreme Court, greatly influencing Michigan criminal law.  He argued seven times in the United States Supreme Court, prevailing on all but one occasion and helping to shape federal criminal law.  He served on the Michigan Supreme Court to Review the Rules of Criminal Procedure and the Michigan Supreme Court Model Criminal Jury Instructions Committee.  He is an adjunct professor at Wayne State University Law School and regularly lectures to both Michigan prosecutors and prosecutors’ associations across the country.


The late James L. Shonkwiler began his career as court-appointed counsel for indigent defendants and spent his retirement working to reform Michigan’s indigent criminal defense system.  In between, he was appointed associate director of the Michigan Crime Commission, which created the Michigan Prosecuting Attorneys Coordinating Council, the first state-level office to train and support county prosecutors.  In 1970, Shonkwiler became executive secretary of PACC.  He served in that role for 27 years, simultaneously working as executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan.  He was a founding member of the SBM Criminal Law Section and for decades edited and wrote the section’s monthly newsletter, summarizing developments in state and national law.  He also founded the section’s biannual policy conference. James Shonkwiler