PORTLAND — Walt McKee is this year’s winner of the ACLU of Maine Foundation’s Justice Louis Scolnik Award.

McKee, an attorney in private practice in Augusta, is the chairman of the Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Legislative Committee.

“Walt combines a passionate sense of justice with a legendary work ethic,” Shenna Bellows, executive director of the ACLU of Maine said in a statement. “We are proud to recognize him for his extraordinary commitment to improving our criminal justice system.”

McKee has testified on numerous significant criminal justice bills. He has tried more than 150 criminal and civil jury trials, His cases include the successful defense of a high-profile medical marijuana advocate and a civil lawsuit against a jail and its medical services contractor over an inmate’s suicide.

McKee also collaborated with the ACLU of Maine on the successful case of State of Maine vs. Ronald LaPlante, about the limits of law enforcement to top motorists.

Established in 1989, the Scolnik Award honors members of the state’s legal community who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to the protection of civil liberties. The award is named for former Maine Supreme Court Justice Louis Scolnik, a founder and the first president of the ACLU of Maine.

The award will be presented to McKee on May 3 at the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport.