Awarded annually starting in 2011, the Chiarkas Award is handed out by the State Public Defender in recognition of the leadership efforts of a staff member of the Wisconsin State Public Defender's Office (SPD). The award is named in honor of former State Public Defender Nick Chiarkas.
Assistant State Public Defender Margaret Johnson for her work as the Racial and Ethnic Disparities Coordinator.
Assistant State Public Defender Robert Peterson for his leadership efforts in further developing and managing the agency's Chapter 980 practice group.
Assistant State Public Defender Diane Rondini-Harness of the Milwaukee Juvenile and Mental Health Office for her efforts on the issue of human trafficking.
Attorney manager Neil McGinn of Milwaukee for his efforts in mentoring other attorneys and representing the agency on a number of key Milwaukee-area committees and initiatives.
Investigator Michael Whalen of Madison for his efforts to work with the YWCA of Dane County and develop a process to implement Self-Reflection and Racial Bias Discussion Circles agency-wide.
Staff attorney Jessie Weber of Eau Claire for her leadership efforts to successfully work with Buffalo County in order to have its first-offense marijuana & drug paraphernalia charges to ordinance violations.