Prof. Simon Receives MCAA’s New Traffic Safety Award
JANUARY 3, 2011—On Dec. 9, 2010, at the 33rd annual meeting of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association (MCAA) in Bloomington, Minn., Clinical Professor Stephen Simon was the first recipient of a newly established award: the annual MCAA Traffic Safety Award.
The award was created to honor individuals who work to save lives and improve safety on Minnesota’s roadways and to enhance the quality of justice in prosecuting impaired drivers.
In addition to his work in clinical and judicial education, Simon is known for his extensive service, research, and writing on DWI, traffic safety, and law reform topics. He is a member of the MCAA’s Impaired Driving Educational Alliance Committee, created to assist the Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor in identifying and meeting training and resource needs. Bill Lemons is the current Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor and presented the award to Simon.
“It is fitting that the first recipient of this award is Steve Simon,” Lemons said. “Minnesota has historically been a leader in the fight against impaired driving and we have one of the best DWI statutes in the country. In many respects, our DWI law could serve as the model. Steve Simon deserves a large amount of credit for that.”
Simon founded the Minnesota Criminal Justice System DWI Task Force in 1982 and served as its director for the next 28 years, overseeing its conversion into a volunteer organization after the loss of state funding and leading its push for numerous significant legislative changes. He also chaired the 1992 Minnesota Legislature Commission on the Treatment and Confinement of DWI Recidivists.
When Simon retired from the DWI Task Force last summer, the MCAA newsletter, The Traffic Report, noted that “his legacy in Minnesota traffic safety will live on every time an officer reads the implied consent advisory telling a suspect ‘refusal to take a test is a crime,’ every time an officer takes the license plates off a repeat offender’s vehicle, every time someone’s driving privileges are cancelled inimical to public safety.”
To those accomplishments, Lemons added that “last session, Steve was able to get legislation passed to expand who can draw blood under the implied consent law and to admit squad tapes as evidence without the requirement of a transcript. He also worked on the drivers license sanctions initiative [by the Department of Public Safety], which has led to some important changes and legislation for Minnesota’s ignition interlock program.”
The nonprofit MCAA consists of 87 county attorneys, governed by a board of directors elected annually by the membership, who seek to improve the quality of justice across Minnesota by developing consensus on legal and public policy issues.