COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -

A northern Idaho public defender county commissioners tried to terminate but then changed course following an uproar has been awarded the Idaho State Bar's professionalism award for 2013.

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports in a story on Saturday that Kootenai County Chief Public Defender John Adams received the award last month.

Kootenai County commissioners in March terminated the contract of the 17-year veteran. But they backtracked after the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho and the Idaho Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers came to Adams' defense.

Adams says he's honored to receive the once-in-a-career award.

He says the award recognizes the work of public defenders as a significant contribution to the community and the general practice of law overall.