The Don Fiedler award is presented annually to a NCDAA member in recognition of their dedication to the practice, “In recognition of their tireless dedication, boundless compassion and battle-honed wisdom, the NCDAA bestows this gesture of gratitude upon the following honorees for their dedication to preserving the rights of the citizen accused. May we all learn from their example.”
2008 – Don Fiedler
2009 – Dennis Keefe and Tom Riley
2010 – Clarence Mock
2011 – James Mowbray
2012 – David Kimble
2013 – Robert Lindemeier
2014 - Denise Frost
2015 - Helga Kirst
2016 - Scott Helvie
2017 - Arthur R. Langvardt, Posthumously
About Don Fielder
Don Fiedler was a lion of the Criminal Defense Bar in Nebraska, and across the United States as well. He began his 40 or so years of practice in Omaha with his father, Al Fiedler, where, remarkably, he initially set out to practice civil law. Until that is, he started trying criminal cases.
He was a founding member of the Nebraska Criminal Defense Attorneys Association (NCDAA) and a long time faculty member at the National Criminal Defense College (NCDC) in Macon, Georgia. Don was also an accomplished actor, and put on one-man shows about both Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan (who, by the way, opposed each other in the famous so called Scopes “Monkey” trial) for audiences across the nation. His specialty at NCDC was courtroom drama.
Don was a true champion of the underdog, and relished the ability, to “fight the good fight.” He was also a long time advocate for the legalization of cannabis, and was the National Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws from 1989 to 1991.
A large and powerful man both in and out of the courtroom, Don played football at Central High School in Omaha, and at the University of Arizona. He was a generous and kindhearted, and each year would give a scholarship, from his own pocket, to a Nebraska criminal defense attorney to attend the NCDC. After Don’s untimely death at age 65 in 2008, members of the NCDAA have come together to fund a scholarship to the NCDC in his name. No NCDAA funds are used for this scholarship. It is funded through contributions made by NCDAA members.
Each year the NCDAA solicits applications from attorneys that wish to compete for the scholarship. The process ends with interviews of the applicants at the NCDAA spring seminar, which has traditionally been held in Lincoln in March. If you wish to apply for the scholarship, the application and instructions can be found here: DON FIEDLER MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION. Typically, the scholarship is awarded to one lawyer each year. Some years we have split it and sent two lawyers because the committee found two lawyers who both deserved help in going to the NCDC.
If you would like to donate funds to keep the scholarship alive, contact Brent Bloom (402-342-2833, firstname.lastname@example.org). He can tell you how to do it and make it a tax write off, too!