Suzan Gabbara receives Barbara R. Levine Award

From the June 2024 Criminal Defense Newsletter

The Appellate Defender Commission presented MAACS roster attorney Suzan Gabbara with the 2023 Barbara R. Levine Award for Excellence in Appellate Advocacy. Named for the architect and first Administrator of MAACS, the award is given annually to a roster attorney who demonstrates extraordinary commitment on behalf of appellate assigned clients and the criminal justice system.

MAACS Roster Attorney Suzan Gabbara argues in the Michigan Supreme Court

Suzan took a meandering path to indigent criminal appellate work. While attending Harrison High School in Farmington Hills, she began working as a front desk clerk at a local Marriot hotel. She spent the next 16 years with the company, working her way up to Regional Manager while earning a business degree from Walsh College and then enrolling at Cooley Law School. Her plan upon graduation was to handle legal transactions for Marriot.

But then something unexpected happened. In her third year of law school, Suzan took a trial skills class taught by renowned criminal defense attorney Frank Eaman. That class led to an externship with Eaman’s law firm, which led to an associate position after graduation, which led to a partnership five years later. Suzan is now the managing partner of Eaman & Gabbara PLLC, where she focuses her practice on criminal defense, immigration, and family law. She finds immense satisfaction representing clients in desperate circumstances—whether bringing her clients home from unjust prison sentences or fighting the deportation of new Americans, she enjoys taking on the government to help reunite families or keep them together.

Suzan joined the MAACS roster in 2020 and handles a significant caseload of serious felony appeals. She has argued two MAACS cases in the Michigan Supreme Court, including People v Dupree, in which the Court held in 2023 that Offense Variables 1 and 2 cannot be scored vicariously against a defendant who did not personally possess a firearm.

She has earned a reputation as a compassionate, smart, and hardworking appellate advocate who provides outstanding representation to her clients. She is helping raise the standard for quality representation at MAACS.

Brad Hall
MAACS Administrator