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Karen Marie Spinks

2007 Federal Service Award | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards

Karen Marie Spinks | Federal Service Award
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia
Alexandria, Virginia

For almost two decades, Karen Marie Spinks has served federal crime victims as the Victim Witness Coordinator for the United States Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Virginia. Spinks has trained prosecutors, law enforcement personnel, and administrative staff on the rights and needs of crime victims. Her peers continually seek her opinion, advice, and counsel. 

Spinks wrote the Eastern District of Virginia's Justice for All Act Protocol, which is used as a model in other districts, and she is a founding member and coleader of the Northern Virginia Coalition for Victim Assistance. Spinks' extraordinary work on behalf of crime victims and commitment to treating them with compassion, respect, and dignity have established her as a “go to” federal victim witness coordinator. 

Spinks' outstanding service to crime victims can be exemplified in her work with victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks. She became the face of the Department of Justice for the family members of those murdered or injured that day. Driven by a commitment to treat each of the victims as if the case involved a single victim, Spinks set about to identify every victim and their family members to ensure that they were fully involved in the prosecution of Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person charged in the criminal justice system for the attacks, to ensure that no one was lost in the massiveness of the crime and that every victim/family member had a voice. 

With Spinks' leadership, the Department of Justice was able to undertake the most exhaustive and thorough victim outreach in the history of our country. During Moussaoui's trial, Spinks provided comfort to approximately 40 victims/family members who testified on behalf of the United States about the impact of the attacks on their lives. As a result of Spinks' unwavering resolve to support the families of the 2,972 killed and the many more who were injured, the bar for federal crime victim services has forever been raised. 

Karen Marie Spinks was nominated by Chuck Rosenberg, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.