News Release ~ 03/02/2000 B

Missouri Lawsuit Against NACDL and Benetton: “Frivolous Political Grandstanding”

Washington, DC (March 2, 2000) -- The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) was pleased to sponsor the human rights communications project, “We, On Death Row” funded by the Benetton Group. We believe it presents an important -- and often overlooked -- portrait of the human faces on death row.

NACDL has championed the need for more dialogue and consideration in this country about the justification and need for capital punishment. We believe that “We, On Death Row” helps accomplish this worthy goal.

The accusations about Benetton, Oliviero Toscani, Ken Shulman and NACDL representatives Prof. Speedy Rice and Julie Wasson are untrue and erroneous. The State of Missouri has attempted to draw attention away from legitimate and worthwhile social commentary by filing a frivolous lawsuit intended merely for political grandstanding. This is a waste of Missouri taxpayers’ money and a waste of the court’s time. We fully intend to fight any attempts to distort the truth and malign the reputations and actions of NACDL and our representatives. 

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's approximately 10,000 direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.

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