Amanda Johnson Havre Daily News email@example.com
Local and state law enforcement officials, judges, attorneys and community members gathered at the District 4 Human Resources Development Council Fireside Room Wednesday to honor Hill County Deputy Attorney Lindsay Osborne as Prosecutor of the Year. The award recognizes a county or city prosecutor's outstanding service to victims of domestic and sexual violence and one's efforts to end such violence in Montana throughout the previous year. Osborne was nominated for the prestigious award by Hill County Sheriff Don Brostrom, Montana Legal Services Staff Attorney Yvonne Laird and Margaret Hencz, director of the Domestic Violence Program/District 4 HRDC. “I work with the Havre domestic violence program, and we’re all here tonight to celebrate Lindsay Osborne,” said Laird. “We did this because Lindsay has shown us that she is very willing to jump right in as a prosecutor, she works hard and she is dedicated to prosecuting domestic violence. We really appreciate that, and we wanted her to know how much we appreciate that." The award is sponsored by the Montana Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence, the State Bar of Montana and the Montana Attorney General’s Office. The rural task force, an entity within the Montana Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence, selects the winners of the awards based on nominations. “Margaret and I were very, very excited that Lindsay was chosen. It’s very important, those of us who know how the stress levels can be when you work with victims within the system that we work with, that we take the time to recognize that and encourage her so that she can continue to serve our community and hopefully stay here for a long time. Hill County Undersheriff Jamie Ross read the nomination letter previously written and submitted by Sheriff Don Brostrom, who was unable to attend the awards ceremony. “I would like to take this opportunity to offer my support in recommending Hill County Deputy County Attorney Lindsay Osborne for the 2008 Outstanding Prosecutor of the Year Award," Brostrom's letter said. "Although Lindsay is relatively new to the Hill County Attorney’s Office, she doesn’t fit the stereotypical image one would have of a new, young prosecutor. Lindsay is very aggressive in her prosecution of domestic abuse. And even in cases where a victim is less than cooperative, she will move forward with officer statements and evidence gathered at the scene to bring the offender to justice. Lindsay is receptive to new ideas and outside input and is always eager to discuss strategies with officers that will lead to successful prosecution of the offender. Her dedication to domestic abuse cases has spread to local officers, showing them that they can truly make a difference. “Lindsay is usually the first to volunteer her time, on an already hectic schedule, to attend meetings or develop new partners to assist in successful prosecutions," he added. "She is the lead prosecutor on the newly formed Children’s Sexual Assault Team, which provides comprehensive services to child victims of sexual assault and focuses on a team approach that works towards limiting the possibility of inflicting further trauma on a child by repeated interviews and examinations." Attorney General congrats Osborne received a congratulatory letter from Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath which was read by Hencz and said, "Dear Lindsay, the Montana Attorney General’s Office, the Montana State Bar and the Montana Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence are pleased to recognize you as one of this year’s Prosecutor of the Year (recipients). Although you are just beginning your career as a prosecutor you’ve already set a fine example. "I know you’ve prosecuted a number of cases even when victims have withdrawn their initial statement about abuse," McGrath wrote. "Those types of cases are never easy. But pursuing them is vital to stopping the cycle of abuse. At the same time your colleagues praise your ability to balance your determination in the court room with compassion, empathy and respect for victims." County Attorney Gina Dahl supported Osborne winning the award. "You are truly an awesome prosecutor," Dahl said. "... You have found your calling. I’m so proud to have you in our office. I think you’re awesome and I hope you don’t ever leave it’s truly a well deserved award." The Honorable David Rice presents award Judge David Rice presented Osborne with her award during Wednesday's ceremony and reception. “Times have changed a lot in 35 years," said Judge David Rice. “When I came to town 35 years ago to being my practice as a prosecutor a lot of the old deputies and cops would say 'What are you doing wasting your time with those domestic violence cases? She’s going to be kissing him through the bars tomorrow and passing him cigarettes. You got better things to do.' "The atmosphere has changed a lot but it’s still hard work as you realize," Rice added. "I think that officers, the younger officers, are more empathetic and willing to assist you in doing your job. You have a bit of an advantage, but its still an up-hill battle. I’m pleased that you’re receiving this award, because you do have a difficult job to do and I know when you come into the court that you never know exactly what somebody’s going to say, if they’re going to show up and what can happen. ... But you do a good job, you’re very compassionate with the people you deal with and you do an effective job. In court, you’re a very persistent prosecutor, but you’re also what I would call a compassionate and polite kind of prosecutor. It’s a pleasure to work with you and I’m pleased to present you with this award." A young prosecutor on the move Osborne grew up in Madison, Wis., and graduated from high school in 2000. She attended college at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., graduating summa cum laude in 2004 with a double major in Psychology and Dance. She then went right to Law School in Missoula and graduated from the University of Montana School of Law in May 2007. Osborne accepted the Hill County Attorney’s position in the spring of 2007, and after taking the bar in July of 2007 she moved to Havre. "This is a very special event. It’s not often that you get recognized individually for something," Osborne told the group. "Graduation ceremonies, those kind of things come in large groups, and it is incredibly flattering and a huge honor to have this kind of presentation. ... I also want to thank the law enforcement officers, the other attorneys and the defense attorneys for helping me to do my job, because I couldn’t do it without all of them. "Doing justice is what I like best about my job, that’s why I chose to be a prosecutor following law school," Osborne continued. "The great thing about being a domestic violence prosecutor is that justice is done in a lot of different ways. In my mind it isn’t measured just by a guilty verdict, but there are a lot of little successes that come with someone testifying for the first time, someone calling you up for the first time, and it’s been quite the experience to share that journey with those people and share those little successes even if at trial it isn’t what we had hoped for," she said.