Position Seeking: Secretary
I have been exclusively a criminal defense lawyer for 39 years. I started as a public defender, where I learned my craft under battle conditions. I clerked for a trial judge, and have been in private practice for the past 35 years. I have always accepted court appointments, have been on the local CJA Panel for over 30 years, and represented clients pro bono. I would be proud to serve as Secretary of NACDL. I believe I have both the broadest experience of any candidate, as well as the greatest vision for the future of NACDL.
I joined NACDL in the early 80’s when it was essentially a club of mostly white, middle- aged men who did primarily white collar work. Since then, we have grown into a dynamo that includes many public defenders and court-appointed attorneys.
During my 32 years of membership, I have served a total of 4 terms on the Board of Directors. I have chaired or co-chaired many of the major committees including, the Indigent Defense Committee, the Affiliates Committee (predecessor of the Counsel of Affiliates) and for over 20 years, the Long Range Planning Committee. Since the mid-80’s, I have attended almost all NACDL meetings as well as most of the Executive Committee meetings. I have lectured frequently at CLE’s in Pennsylvania most recently at the Drug Seminar in Las Vegas last November. I have published in the Champion, on federal sentencing. I currently serve on the Champion Advisory Board, the Philadelphia Event Planning Committee, the Task Force on the Future of NACDL, and the Membership Committee. I also currently serve as NACDL Parliamentarian.
I practice in both state and federal courts at the pre-trial, trial, appellate and post-conviction levels. I have handled over a hundred murder cases, including approximately a dozen capital trials. I am a member of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the three federal district courts in Pennsylvania, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. I am a certified trial advocate. I served twice as chair of the Criminal Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association. I was one of the founders of the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. In 2006 the Philadelphia Bar Association honored me with the Justice Thurgood Marshall Award.
Should you elect me as an officer of NACDL, my focus on your behalf will be (a) ending the death penalty; (b) eliminating mandatory minimum sentences in both the state and federal systems; (c) ending the war on drugs that has resulted in the destruction of so many lives; (d) stopping the desecration of the Constitution in the name of the war on terrorism (including repeal of the “Patriot” Act); (e) speaking out against the demonization of we criminal defense lawyers who have been doing our Constitutionally-mandated jobs; and (f) ending the near sub-human status of those who have been convicted of crimes, but who have completed their sentences and need to return to society as people with a chance at a decent life.
I believe that my experience as a public defender and as a private attorney, representing both paying and indigent clients, as well as my lengthy and varied efforts on behalf of NACDL, have all positioned me to advance the interests of this association which I deeply love. If given the opportunity, I will strive for the continued improvement and greater voice of our band of sisters and brothers in the national, state and local criminal justice systems. I ask for your vote so that we can work together to fulfil Gideon’s promise.