News Release ~ 03/02/2000 A

Banish Corruption, Not Benetton

California Legislator Blind to Real Threat to Justice 

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

California State Assemblyman Scott Baugh has foolishly and irresponsibly attempted to punish Benetton by calling for a statewide boycott of Benetton products. “We are outraged that a state official wants to suppress free speech and intimidate a company that is speaking out on a global human rights issue,” said NACDL President William B. Moffitt.

“It is ironic that Rep. Baugh finds Benetton to be such a dangerous threat to the California criminal justice system when just yesterday, the Los Angeles police department released its inquiry into the Rampart corruption scandal which devastated the lives of hundreds of innocent Californians,” Moffitt said.

“Where was Baugh when these innocent victims were herded up and set up by renegade, corrupt police officers? Where are his cries of concern for what has truly besmirched and sullied justice in California?” Moffitt added.

In response to Baugh’s actions, Moffitt said that NACDL is renewing its call for European businesses not to invest in California and other states that permit capital punishment.

“Even the Governor of Illinois has determined that there is a need for more dialogue and consideration in this country about the justification and need for capital punishment. Benetton’s “We, On Death Row” helps further this dialogue. It is appalling that Rep. Baugh is using the taxpayers’ bully pulpit to attempt to silence and censure this effort,” Moffitt said. 

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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