News Release ~ 04/27/1998

Defense Bar Assails Tactics of Whitewater Independent Counsel In Harassing Susan McDougal

Use of Contempt Power May Impede Judicial Inquiry

Washington, DC (April 27, 1998) -- The Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers has unanimously adopted a resolution condemning Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's action to compel Susan McDougal to re-appear before the Whitewater grand jury in Little Rock, Arkansas, and calling for a full and independent investigation into apparent conflicts of interest and possible misconduct in this matter.

"To imprison Ms. McDougal further, either by civil contempt or by an attempt to convict her for criminal contempt, would appear vindictive and ill-serve our nation's system of justice," NACDL declared at its quarterly meeting in Santa Monica this past weekend.

The resolution further states, "There is a serious question as to whether the Office of the Independent Counsel will attempt to use contempt proceedings to block Ms. McDougal's obtaining an evidentiary hearing on these issues. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers condemns the use of contempt power to impede judicial inquiry into issues relating to the integrity of the judicial process with respect to Ms. McDougal."

The resolution calls for a "prompt, thorough and independent investigation" into these critical concerns. 

[Click Here] to read the full text of the resolution.

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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