News Release ~ 06/12/1995

Abandoning Constitutional Liberties Won't Cure Crime!

Criminal Defense Bar To Urge Congress to Come to Its Senses

Washington, DC (June 12, 1995) -- The broad-based abandonment of constitutional liberties contained in the current congressional crime agenda represents a dangerous surrender of long-cherished American rights and will be futile in making our society safer, criminal defense lawyers from across the U.S. will tell congressional leaders on Wednesday, June 14 when they arrive in Washington for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers' (NACDL) Fourth Annual Legislative Fly-In.

The defense lawyers will urge Congress not to abolish the exclusionary rule -- the only effective means for enforcing the Fourth Amendment's guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures by government agents. They will also call on Congress to:

  • investigate numerous recent abuses of citizens' rights by federal law enforcement agencies -- including the Waco debacle;
  • reform civil forfeiture laws to prevent overreaching by law enforcement agencies that profit from the seizures they make;
  • refrain from exempting federal prosecutors from state ethical rules that apply to all lawyers;
  • adequately fund indigent defense, so the Sixth Amendment is a reality for all Americans;
  • eliminate the racially discriminatory difference in sentences between powder and crack cocaine;
  • resolve the ethical dilemna created for lawyers by the IRS requirement that they disclose the names of clients who pay in cash.

NACDL will honor Congressman John D. Conyers (D-MI) and former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark at a Capitol Hill Reception on June 14 at 5:30 p.m. in Room 2168 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Congressman Conyers will receive a Champion of Justice Award for his tireless work in defending the constitutional rights of all Americans against repeated legislative attacks and governmental abuses during his three decades of exemplary service in Congress. Ramsey Clark will be conferred a Lifetime Achievement Award honoring his remarkable commitment to staunchly defending individuals -- even highly unpopular ones --and his relentless advocacy of human rights in the United States and around the world.

Journalists are welcome at the Capitol Hill reception and at the two-hour issues briefing for NACDL members at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 14 in the "Columbia A" Room of the Capitol Hill Hyatt, 400 New Jersey Avenue, NW. Detailed position statements, additional background, and referrals to visiting criminal defense lawyers or other spokespersons are available from NACDL.

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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