News Releases ~ 1996

Clinton Plan to Force Drug Tests on Everyone Arrested is 'Orwellian,' Criminal Defense Bar Declares -- Washington, DC (December 15, 1995) -- "Forced drug testing of every citizen who's arrested raises troubling Fourth Amendment questions, and it's a blatant violation of the Eighth Amendment," declared Robert Fogelnest, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), today in response to President Clinton's announcement that he will order drug testing as a condition of bail for all federal arrestees. More 

Statement of Judy Clarke, NACDL President, Concerning Separate Trials for Okla. City Bombing Suspects -- Washington, DC (October 25, 1996) -- "Judge Mastch's bold decision requiring separate trials for Oklahoma City bombing defendants Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols is living proof of the importance of an independent judiciary in preserving fundamental rights for the accused in America today. More 

Statement of Judy Clarke, President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, on the TRAC study showing uneven and irregular allocation of federal drug prosecution resources among 90 federal districts -- Washington, DC (October 18, 1996) -- "You'll notice that the federal districts with the highest rates of drug prosecution referrals are fairly rural, with low urban populations. They do not have large county and municipal budgets. Forming federal-local drug task forces helps bring federal tax dollars to small town police and sheriff's offices, not to mention providing the federal nexus for drug asset forfeiture, in which 90 percent of the proceeds of a federal forfeiture are returned to the seizing police agency. In Mississippi and West Virginia, two states with the highest percentages of federal drug prosecutions, drug investigations contribute significantly to local law enforcement budgets. More 

Privacy Threatened by Fine Print in Spending Bill -- Washington, DC (September 19, 1996) -- Congress must remove provisions from an appropriations bill which would unfetter federal wiretappers, an unusual coalition of civil liberties and public interest groups said today. The organizations are protesting stealth legislation added to the Commerce, Justice, State and Judiciary spending bill by Senate appropriators which would loosen legal standards for intercepting telephone and electronic communications, permit interception in certain non-criminal political investigations, and provide funding for intercepting digital (fiber optic) voice and data communications. More 

Law Professors, Victims' Families Oppose Victims' Rights Amendment -- Washington, DC (September 5, 1996) -- A victim's rights amendment to the U.S. Constitution is an unnecessary infringement on the states' powers and would prove too costly and cumbersome to implement, according to a letter released today by 160 prominent law professors and legal scholars from across the country. The letter notes that almost all states already have statutes or constitutional provisions protecting victims' rights to restitution or to participate in sentencing proceedings, and that a constitutional amendment could actually make criminal proceedings more complex and time consuming and would lead to "more, not less, uncertainty in the criminal justice process." More 

Judy Clarke Elected First Public Defender President -- Washington, DC (August 13, 1996) -- Judy Clarke, the Executive Director of Federal Defenders of Eastern Washington and Idaho, was sworn in as President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers at the association's annual meeting in Santa Monica August 11. Ms. Clarke is the first public defender elected president of NACDL and the second woman to be so honored. More 

'Who Will Guard the Guards?' -- Washington, DC (August 1, 1996) -- A broad coalition of organizations today called on Congress to reject renewed "counter-terrorism" proposals which would take away Americans' rights while giving dangerous new powers to federal law enforcement agencies. More 

Reform Needed to Protect Rights of Innocent Property Owners -- Washington, DC (July 22, 1996) -- "The unchecked use of overbroad civil forfeiture statutes has run amok," depriving innocent citizens of their property without due process of law, three members of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers told the House Judiciary Committee today. NACDL Asset Forfeiture Abuse Task Force co-chairs E.E. "Bo" Edwards (Nashville, Tenn.), David B. Smith (Alexandria, Va.) and Richard J. Troberman (Seattle, Wash.) testified in support of H.R. 1916, the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act, sponsored by Judiciary Chairman Henry J. Hyde (R-Ill), citing numerous examples of American citizens permanently deprived of their property without a day in court and when no criminal charges were ever brought. More 

'Victims' Rights' Imperil Bill of Rights -- Washington, DC (July 11, 1996) -- Any so-called "victims' rights" amendment to the Constitution would pose "grave dangers" to the Bill of Rights, a representative of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers told the House Judiciary Committee today. Elisabeth A. Semel, a prominent California lawyer and the organization's legislative committee co-chair, testified that such an attempt to "elevate" victims' rights to the same status as those of the accused effectively would write fundamental citizens' rights out of the Constitution. More 

Supreme Court Does Abrupt About-Face on Civil Forfeiture; O.K.'s Easy Seizure of Americans' Homes -- Washington, DC (June 24, 1996) -- "I've never seen our nation's highest court do such an abrupt about-face," commented National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) President Robert Fogelnest today after reading the Supreme Court's dismaying decision in U.S. v. Ursery. "To anyone concerned about the growth of government power beyond constitutional limits, today may be the single saddest day in many terms," Fogelnest said. More 

U.S. Sens. Hatfield, Simon, Rep. Schroeder, Journalists Cauchon, Curriden and Meddis Named 'Champions of Justice' by Nation's Criminal Defense Bar -- Washington, DC (May 20, 1996) -- The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) on Tuesday evening, May 21, will present its Champion of Justice Awards to three outstanding members of Congress and three exceptional journalists, to honor their professional contributions in defending Americans' constitutional rights. More 

Court 'Hears No Evil, Sees No Evil, Speaks No Evil,' Sets Impossible Standard for Claims of Race-Based Selective Prosecution -- Washington, DC (May 13, 1996) -- "Eight members of the Court 'hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil' of the government," declared William B. Moffitt, Treasurer of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), today in response to the Supreme Court's anxiously-awaited ruling in Armstrong v. U.S. "They are deaf to the cries of African Americans for racial justice in the enforcement of our criminal laws," he said. More 

'Victims' Rights' Don't Belong in the Constitution -- Washington, DC (April 22, 1996) -- "The last thing we need is to tinker with the federal Constitution so that some cynical politicians can gain political capital in an election year" Robert Fogelnest, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), said today. Fogelnest, a prominent New York City attorney, was reacting to today's introduction in Congress of a proposed constitutional amendment on victims' rights. More 

Passage of 'Antiterrorism' Bill Will Mark 'Tragic Triumph of Politics' -- Washington, DC (April 17, 1996) -- "It will be a sad memorial to the 169 Oklahoma City bombing victims if Congress tosses into the dust-bin of history one of the most precious of Americans' constitutional liberties," declared Robert Fogelnest, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), today. More 

Supreme Court's Decision Will Spur Forfeiture Reform -- Washington, DC (March 4, 1996) -- "The Supreme Court today did more to advance the cause of forfeiture reform than all of the advocacy campaigns of the past several years combined," declared Robert Fogelnest, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), reacting to the Court's 5-4 decision today in Bennis v. Michigan. More 

Supreme Court's Decision Will Spur Forfeiture Reform -- Washington, DC (February 28, 1996) -- Persons accused of crime must have the final say over whether their trials are televised, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers' (NACDL) board of directors voted this week, on a question that has split criminal defense lawyers into two camps since "cameras in the courts" became a practical reality over a decade ago. More 

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