News Releases ~ 2013

News Release ~ 12/19/2013
President Obama Surprises with Rare Exercise of Clemency Power -- Washington, DC (December 19, 2013) – Today, the White House announced that President Barack Obama granted clemency to 21 individuals – eight commutations and thirteen pardons. For some time, President Obama has come under blistering criticism for his neglect of executive clemency power. Indeed, many have pointed out that previous presidents exercised this power more frequently and at a higher rate than has President Obama. Unfortunately, never before has the need to invoke this power to do justice been greater. More people languish behind bars in America than any other nation on earth, both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the population, many of them for non-violent offenses and under the most severe of mandatory minimum schemes. Read More

News Release ~ 12/05/2013
Federal Court Finds Systemic Violation of Indigent Defendants’ Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel -- Washington, DC (December 5, 2013) – Yesterday, in the case of Wilbur v. City of Mount Vernon, et al., one of a number of cases challenging systemic deficiencies in the delivery of indigent defense services across the nation, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington State found systemic violations of defendants’ Sixth Amendment right to counsel by the Cities of Mount Vernon and Burlington, Washington, and ordered injunctive relief. A copy of the decision is available here. On August 14, 2013, the United States Department of Justice filed a Statement of Interest in this case. While not taking a position on the merits of plaintiffs’ claims in this particular case, the Department of Justice made very clear that “The United States has an interest in ensuring that all jurisdictions – federal, state, and local – are fulfilling their obligation under the Constitution to provide effective assistance of counsel to individuals facing criminal charges who cannot afford an attorney, as required by Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963). Read More

News Release ~ 11/25/2013
MEDIA ALERT: Full-Day Conference on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in America’s Criminal Justice System – Washington, DC (November 25, 2013) – On Friday, December 6, 2013, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, along with the Foundation for Criminal Justice, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, the Center for Nu Leadership on Urban Solutions, and the New York County Lawyers’ Association will host an all-day conference, Criminal Justice in the 21st Century: Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparity in the Criminal Justice System: Advancing the Reform Dialogue Through Action. This event is a one year follow-up to a three-day convening on racial and ethnic disparities, which was co-sponsored by the same organizations and held in October 2012 in New York. Read More

News Release ~ 11/20/2013
The Champion Special Issue on Brady at 50 Wins Prestigious Award -- Washington, DC (November 20, 2013) – The May 2013 issue of NACDL’s The Champion Magazine – Perspectives on Brady at 50 – has been named the winner of min’s 2013 Editorial & Design Award in the category of Print/Online Coverage of Single Topic. The winners were announced on Tuesday, November 18, 2013 at min’s Editorial & Design Awards Breakfast at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. Min (Media Industry News) is a leading media industry publication and has been covering the magazine industry for over 65 years. Winners in other categories at the 2013 Editorial & Design Awards included O, the Oprah Magazine; Time; Food & Wine; Cosmopolitan; Harper’s Bazaar; and Better Homes and Gardens. Read More

News Release ~ 11/14/2013
Congressional Task Force on Overcriminalization Holds Fourth Hearing -- Washington, DC (November 14, 2013) – The Congressional Task Force on Overcriminalization held its fourth hearing this morning. Composed of five Democrats and five Republicans, the Task Force was created on May 7, 2013, by a unanimous vote of the House Committee on the Judiciary. The Task Force was charged to "conduct hearings and investigations and issue a report on overcriminalization in the federal code, as well as possible solutions." Read More

News Release ~ 10/30/2013
Congressional Task Force on Overcriminalization Holds Third Hearing -- Washington, DC (October 30, 2013) – The Congressional Task Force on Overcriminalization, which was created on May 7, 2013, by a unanimous vote of the House Committee on the Judiciary, held its third hearing this morning. The task force – composed of five Democrats and five Republicans – has been charged to “conduct hearings and investigations and issue a report on overcriminalization in the federal code, as well as possible solutions.” Read More

News Release ~ 09/25/2013
Another State Recognizes Counsel is Required at First Appearance Where Liberty is at Stake -- Washington, DC (September 25, 2013) – The Maryland Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, today ruled in a 4-3 decision that "under Article 24 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights, an indigent defendant is entitled to state-furnished counsel at an initial hearing before a District Court Commissioner." This means that every person brought before a bail commissioner throughout the State of Maryland is entitled to have a lawyer argue for his or her release before bail is set, regardless of the individual’s ability to pay for counsel. At least a dozen states and the District of Columbia have now explicitly recognized this right. The case is DeWolfe v. Richmond, No. 34. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of the plaintiffs. Read More

News Release ~ 09/11/2013
Constitution Day 2013 Hill Briefing -- Federal Indigent Defense Crisis -- Washington, DC (September 11, 2013) – You are cordially invited to a Constitution Day 2013 Briefing: "Chipping Away at the Sixth Amendment: Federal Indigent Defense in Crisis." Nearly fifty years after its establishment by Congress, the federal indigent defense system faces an existential crisis.  Federal defender organizations lost approximately 10% of their budget in 2013, leading to significant layoffs, 15-20 day furloughs, scant funds for vital case expenses, case delays, and other administrative burdens on the courts.  Underpaid court-appointed attorneys recently suffered a 12% rate cut and lengthy payment deferrals.  If no action is taken, federal defenders could suffer a further 10% budget cut in FY 2014, devastating this once model program.  The twin cuts to both federal defender offices and appointed attorneys jeopardize our hybrid system of well-qualified public and private attorneys, placing the Sixth Amendment and the integrity of our federal criminal justice system at risk. Read More

News Release ~ 08/15/2013
Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar Welcomes DOJ Effort to Ensure State and Local Compliance with Americans’ Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel -- Washington, DC (August 15, 2013) – Fifty years after the Supreme Court’s landmark Sixth Amendment right to counsel decision in Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), indigent defense systems across the nation, including the federal defender system, are in crisis. Yesterday, in the case of Wilbur v. City of Mount Vernon, et al., one of a number of cases challenging systemic deficiencies in the delivery of indigent defense services across the nation, the Department of Justice, on behalf of the federal government, filed a Statement of Interest in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle. The Wilbur case concerns claims that the cities of Mount Vernon and Burlington violated misdemeanor defendants’ right to counsel. In its filing, the DOJ, while not taking a position on the merits of plaintiffs’ claims in this particular case, made very clear that “The United States has an interest in ensuring that all jurisdictions – federal, state, and local – are fulfilling their obligation under the Constitution to provide effective assistance of counsel to individuals facing criminal charges who cannot afford an attorney, as required by Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963).” Read More

News Release ~ 08/14/2013
MEDIA ALERT: “The Criminal Justice Act at 50: The Past, Present, and Future of the Right to Counsel in Federal Courts” -- Washington, DC (August 14, 2013) – On Tuesday, August 20, 2013 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Library of Congress, The Federal Bar Association Criminal Law Section and The Law Library of Congress are hosting this event marking the beginning of a year-long commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Criminal Justice Act. This landmark legislation secured the Sixth Amendment right to counsel in federal court. The following groups are participating organizations in the event: the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), National Legal Aid & Defender Association, American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section, Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, and the Constitution Project. Read More

News Release ~ 08/12/2013b
Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar Welcomes Attorney General Holder’s Vision for Criminal Justice Reform -- Washington, DC (August 12, 2013) – In an important policy speech delivered today in San Francisco at the Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder articulated a welcome vision for reforming America’s broken criminal justice system. In his address, Attorney General Holder spoke to numerous policy reform priorities concerning which the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) has invested tremendous research and advocacy over the years, including its work with the Department of Justice. Read More

News Release ~ 08/12/2013
Federal Court Findings and Repudiation of Unconstitutional “Stop-and-Frisk” Practice Underscores Extent of Racial Profiling in America’s Criminal Justice System -- Washington, DC (August 12, 2013) – In a nearly 200-page opinion and order, U.S. District Court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin in the Southern District of New York ruled today in the closely-followed, class action case of Floyd v. City of New York that the City of New York “is liable for violating plaintiffs’ Fourth and Fourteenth amendment rights.” The Court further found that “[t]he City acted with deliberate indifference toward the NYPD’s practice of making unconstitutional stops and conducting unconstitutional frisks” and that “[e]ven if the City had not been deliberately indifferent, the NYPD’s unconstitutional practices were sufficiently widespread as to have the force of law.” As the City “adopted a policy of indirect racial profiling by targeting racially defined groups for stops based on local crime suspect data[,]” the Court found the resulting “disproportionate and discriminatory stopping of blacks and Hispanics in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.” In a separate 39-page opinion and order (also accessible via the link above; it follows the first opinion and order), the Court ordered remedies, “including immediate changes to the NYPD’s policies, a joint-remedial process to consider further reforms, and the appointment of an independent monitor to oversee compliance with the remedies ordered in this case.” Read More

News Release ~ 08/05/2013
Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar Alarmed by Reports of NSA Surveillance Data Use and Intentional, Systematic Non-Disclosure in Domestic, Non-Terror-Related Criminal Cases -- Washington, DC (August 5, 2013) – Today, Reuters news service reported that “A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.” Reuters further reports that it has undated documents that “show that federal agents are trained to ‘recreate’ the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant's Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don't know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence - information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.” And late yesterday, TheHouston Chroniclereported that “The National Security Agency is handing the Justice Department information, derived from its secret electronic eavesdropping programs, about suspected criminal activity unrelated to terrorism[,]” including in cases alleging conduct including sex offenses and corporate criminal activity under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The information sharing programs reported by Reuters and The Houston Chronicle over the last 24 hours are yet further examples of the national security state seeping into the traditional justice system. Read More

News Release ~ 07/30/2013
2013-14 Officers and Newly Elected Members of the Board of Directors Sworn in at Annual Meeting -- Washington, DC (July 30, 2013) - NACDL installed its new officers and directors at its Annual Board and Membership Meeting in San Francisco, California, on July 27, 2013. Read More

News Release ~ 07/29/2013b
Leesburg, Va., Attorney Bonnie H. Hoffman Receives 2013 Heeney Award from Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar -- Washington, DC­ (July 29, 2013) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is pleased to announce that Virginia criminal defense lawyer Bonnie Hoffman was chosen as this year’s Robert C. Heeney Award recipient. NACDL’s most prestigious recognition, the Heeney Award is given annually to the member who best exemplifies the goals and values of the Association and the legal profession. Hoffman received the award on Saturday, July 27, 2013, at NACDL’s annual membership at board meeting in San Francisco, California. Read More

News Release ~ 07/29/2013
Kentucky Lawyer Jerry J. Cox Sworn in as 2013-14 President of Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar -- Washington, DC (July 29, 2013) – Jerry J. Cox, of Mount Vernon, Ky., was sworn in on Saturday, July 27, as President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at its 56th Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California. Mr. Cox has previously served the Association as its President-Elect, First- and Second Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Parliamentarian, as well as on the Association’s Board of Directors. Read More

News Release ~ 07/25/2013b
Bruce Jacob to Receive Champion of Indigent DefenseAward from Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar -- Washington, DC (July 25, 2013) – Bruce Jacob, Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law at Stetson University College of Law, will be presented the Champion of Indigent Defense Award by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at its 56th Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California later this week. Jacob will be formally presented with the award on Saturday, at the Association’s board meeting. The Champion of Indigent Defense Award recognizes an individual for exceptional efforts in making positive changes to a local, county, state, or national indigent defense system. Read More

News Release ~ 07/25/2013
Peter Wagner Awarded Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award by Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar -- Washington, DC (July 25, 2013) – Peter Wagner, attorney and Executive Director of the Prison Policy Initiative, will be awarded the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ 3rd Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award today at NACDL’s 12th Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference in San Francisco, California. The Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award honors individuals or groups whose exceptional efforts have led toward progressive reform of a state criminal justice system. Read More

News Release ~ 07/19/2013
NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer Testifies at Congressional Overcriminalization Task Force Hearing; Calls for Clear, Strong and Universal Intent Requirements in Federal Criminal Law -- Washington, DC (July 19, 2013) – Today’s hearing of the newly-created Congressional Task Force on Overcriminalization focused on the specific subject of “Mens Rea: The Need for a Meaningful Intent Requirement in Federal Criminal Law.” NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer was one of two witnesses appearing before the task force today. The other witness was Professor John S. Baker, Jr., Visiting Professor at Georgetown Law School. Read More

News Release ~ 07/18/2013
Innocence Project and NACDL Announce Historic Partnership with the FBI and Department of Justice on Microscopic Hair Analysis Cases: Government Agrees to Notify Defendants of Error, Waive Procedural Arguments and Offer Free DNA Testing -- Washington, DC (July 18, 2013) - Today the Innocence Project, the National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and its partners announced a groundbreaking and historic agreement with the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to review more than 2,000 criminal cases in which the FBI conducted microscopic hair analysis of crime scene evidence.    The agencies agreed to undertake the review after three men who had served lengthy prison sentences were exonerated by DNA testing in cases in which three different FBI hair examiners provided testimony which exceeded the limits of science and contributed to their wrongful convictions.  The review will focus on specific cases in which FBI Laboratory reports and testimony included statements that were scientifically invalid. Read More

News Release ~ 07/17/2013
Groundbreaking Conference Report Offers Concrete Steps to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Disparities in America’s Criminal Justice System -- Washington, DC (July 17, 2013) – Issued today, a groundbreaking report on a matter of immense public importance -- Criminal Justice in the 21st Century: Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System– is a critically important and inclusive examination of the profound racial and ethnic disparities in America’s criminal justice system, and concrete ways to overcome them. Read More

News Release ~ 07/16/2013
Congress’s Newly-Formed Overcriminalization Task Force to Hold Second Hearing this Friday, July 19 -- Washington, DC (July 16, 2013) – On May 7, 2013, The House Committee on the Judiciary voted unanimously to create the “Overcriminalization Task Force of 2013.” At a press briefing that day, Judiciary Committee and Overcriminalization Task Force leaders expressed agreement on the need to address several important issues, including the erosion of the mens rea (or criminal intent) requirement in federal criminal law, the often unnecessary duplication of state law in the federal code, overincarceration, and the explosion of regulatory offenses that some estimate may now number as high as 300,000, among other issues. Members also expressed the need to address mandatory minimum sentences. Read More

News Release ~ 07/02/2013
Ongoing NSA Revelations Source of Deep Concern for Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar -- Washington, DC (July 2, 2013) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is profoundly concerned by ongoing revelations suggesting that the U.S. Government is engaged in a wholesale, round-the-clock infringement of Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights. Among the concerns raised by these disclosures specific to the Constitutionally-outlined role of defense counsel in the American criminal justice system is the sanctity of the attorney-client and work product privileges, as well as the use of secret evidence in criminal proceedings. No congressional enactment, executive action, or secret court order can trump the fundamental rights of the American people as set forth in the U.S. Constitution. NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer said: “The time has long passed for the government to provide full disclosure of the complete nature and extent of these surveillance programs.” Read More

News Release ~ 06/25/2013
Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar Sounds Alarm Over Inadequate Funding and Independence of the Federal Indigent Defense System -- Washington, DC (June 25, 2013) – Following deep funding cuts that began before the federal sequester and were increased after the sequester took effect, the nation’s federal indigent defense system is in crisis. These cuts are having a devastating effect on the nation’s federal defenders, and delayed payments are inflicting extraordinary hardship on the small firm and solo practitioners who provide indigent defense services through a panel appointment system. And now, another serious blow has been delivered to federal indigent defense. Read More

News Release ~ 06/14/2013
NACDL President Steven D. Benjamin Testifies at Inaugural Congressional Overcriminalization Task Force Hearing; Calls for Reforms, Stresses Importance of Funding for Federal Indigent Defense -- Washington, DC (June 14, 2013) – The inaugural hearing of the first Congressional Task Force on Overcrimalization was held this morning in Congress before a standing room only crowd and broadcast live via the internet. NACDL President Steven D. Benjamin was one of the four witnesses. Read More

News Release ~ 06/12/2013
Congress’s Newly-Formed Overcriminalization Task Force to Hold First Hearing this Friday, June 14 -- Washington, DC (June 12, 2013) – On May 7, 2013, The House Committee on the Judiciary voted unanimously to create the “Overcriminalization Task Force of 2013.” At a press briefing that day, Judiciary Committee and Overcriminalization Task Force leaders expressed agreement on the need to address several important issues, including the erosion of the mens rea (or criminal intent) requirement in federal criminal law, the often unnecessary duplication of state law in the federal code, overincarceration, and the explosion of regulatory offenses that some estimate may now number as high as 300,000, among other issues. Members also expressed the need to address mandatory minimum sentences. Read More

News Release ~ 06/03/2013
Supreme Court Rules DNA Collection on Arrest Constitutional, Under Certain Circumstances -- Washington, DC (June 3, 2013) – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Maryland v. King (12-207) that “When officers make an arrest supported by probable cause to hold for a serious offense and they bring the suspect to the station to be detained in custody, taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee’s DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.” (at 28) The 5-4 majority opinion of the Court was delivered by Justice Kennedy and joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas, Alito and Breyer. Justice Scalia filed a dissenting opinion joined by Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan. Read More

News Release ~ 05/23/2013
Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar Strongly Urges Follow-Through on Guantanamo Closure -- Washington, DC (May 23, 2013) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is optimistic about President Obama’s recommitment to closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. Guantanamo and indefinite detention are failures on this country’s counterterrorism record and as with all failed policies these must come to an end. NACDL agrees with President Obama that Guantanamo is unnecessary and too costly. It also undermines the rule of law. NACDL will do whatever we can to assist the President in achieving this goal because closing the facility makes sound legal and economic sense. Read More

News Release ~ 05/22/2013
Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar Launches Publicly-Available Resource for Resisting and Challenging Excessive Sentences -- Washington, DC (May 22, 2013) – NACDL is pleased to offer, as a resource for its members and as a service to the public, a collection of individual downloadable documents that summarize for each U.S. state the key doctrines and leading court rulings setting forth constitutional and statutory limits on lengthy imprisonment terms and other extreme (non-capital) sentences. The resource – Excessive Sentencing: NACDL’s Proportionality Litigation Project -- is available at www.nacdl.org/excessivesentencing. Read More

News Release ~ 05/16/2013
Texas Makes Progress on Discovery Reform; Governor Signs Michael Morton Act into Law -- Washington, DC (May 16, 2013) – In a week marking the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion in Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), holding that the government must disclose to the defense all information favorable to the accused, the State of Texas today took a significant step toward the realization of the promise of Brady. The passage and signing into law of Senate Bill 1611 – The Michael Morton Act – delivers positive change to discovery in criminal cases in Texas. Significantly, the new law codifies that the prosecution should make available to the defense, automatically upon request, all police offense reports and witness statements in their files. Read More

News Release ~ 05/13/2013
Hearings on Barriers to Social Re-Entry for Individuals with Convictions and Collateral Consequences of Criminal Conviction -- Washington, D.C. (May 13, 2013) – With more than 65 million Americans possessing a criminal record, the consequences of conviction – specific legal barriers, generalized discrimination, and social stigma – have become more numerous and severe, more public, and more permanent. These restrictions affect jobs and licenses, housing, public benefits, judicial rights, parental rights, interstate travel, and even volunteer opportunities. Moreover, the legal mechanisms relied on in the past to restore rights and status for formerly convicted individuals have atrophied or become ineffective, with the result that a significant percentage of the American public is permanently consigned to second class citizenship. Read More

News Release ~ 05/07/2013b
Willie Jerome Manning Granted Stay of Execution by Mississippi Supreme Court -- Washington, DC (May 7, 2013) – Willie Jerome Manning, who was scheduled to be executed by the State of Mississippi at 6 p.m. today, has been granted a stay of execution by the Mississippi Supreme Court “pending further Order of this Court.” Significant doubt had been raised concerning the forensic evidence used to convict Mr. Manning of murdering two university students in 1992. Specifically, attorneys for Mr. Manning directed the Court to three recent Department of Justice letters, the first of which, dated May 2, set forth that “we have determined that testimony containing erroneous statements regarding microscopic hair comparison analysis was used in this case.” Read More

News Release ~ 05/07/2013
Bipartisan Effort Establishes House Judiciary Committee Overcriminalization Task Force -- Washington, DC (May 7, 2013) – The House Committee on the Judiciary this morning voted unanimously to create the “Overcriminalization Task Force of 2013.” According to Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), “The task force will be authorized for six months and will be led by Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner and Ranking Member Bobby Scott.” It will “conduct hearings and investigations and issue a report on overcriminalization in the federal code, as well as possible solutions.” The task force is made up of five Democrats and five Republicans, and will include Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI) and Chairman Goodlatte as ex-officio members. Read More

News Release ~ 04/30/13
NACDL Launches Domestic Drone Information Center -- Washington, DC (April 30, 2013) – NACDL is today excited to announce the launch of its online Domestic Drone Information Center (DDIC). While drones (or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) are most commonly known for their use in U.S. counterterrorism strategy, their presence inside the U.S. has become an important and growing concern in recent months. Read More

News Release ~ 04/23/13
Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar Strongly Supports Delaware Effort to Repeal the Death Penalty -- Washington, DC (April 23, 2013) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) today submitted a statement in support of SB 19, legislation that would repeal the death penalty in Delaware. On Wednesday, April 24, the Judiciary Committee of Delaware’s House of Representatives will hold a hearing on SB 19. Delaware’s Senate narrowly passed repeal legislation in late March. Read More

News Release ~ 04/22/13
The Constitution Still Applies in Cases of Alleged Domestic Terrorism -- Washington, DC (April 22, 2013) – In cases of alleged domestic terrorism, as with other state and federal crimes, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) supports the use of America’s civilian criminal justice system. NACDL also opposes any expansion whatsoever of the “public safety exception” to Miranda v. Arizona. Indeed, NACDL has long resisted legislative and other efforts to restrict individuals’ constitutional rights, including the right to receive the warnings required by Miranda v. Arizona. Read More

News Release ~ 03/29/13
Maryland Senate Committee to Vote on Legislation That Would Reverse Progress in Delivery of Indigent Defense Services -- Washington, DC (March 29, 2013) – In this, the 50th anniversary year of the landmark Supreme Court decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee is expected to vote early next week on legislation that would reverse progress the state has made in the delivery of defense services to indigent Marylanders accused of a crime. If passed, the measure would then move to the full Senate. Read More

News Release ~ 03/26/2013
Supreme Court: Dog Sniffs At Persons’ Homes Are Searches Requiring Probable Cause Under the Fourth Amendment -- Washington, DC (March 26, 2013) – In its decision in Florida v. Jardines (11-564), the U.S. Supreme Court today upheld the Florida Supreme Court, which affirmed the suppression of marijuana evidence unearthed by law enforcement arising out of their use of a canine sniff at Mr. Jardines's front door without probable cause. This is the second dog sniff opinion of the term. This time, though, the Court sided with personal rights over law enforcement’s use of enhanced searching technologies. Read More

News Release ~ 03/20/2013
Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar Applauds Bipartisan Reform Legislation on Mandatory Minimum Sentencing -- Washington, DC (March 20, 2013) – Today, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013. If enacted, this legislation would restore essential judicial discretion to permit a sentence below harsh and inflexible statutory minimums based upon the court’s assessment of the particular facts and circumstances of the case and the offender. The expanded safety valve would apply to all federal offenders facing mandatory minimum sentences for any crime. Its purpose would be to prevent the kind of unjust and irrational criminal punishments the nation has witnessed under the ever-expanding mandatory minimum sentencing regime of the last few decades. Read More

News Release ~ 03/19/2013
Former Prosecutors and Judges Support Warrant Requirement for the Content of Electronic Communications -- Washington, DC (March 19, 2013) – Today, Senator Patrick Leahy introduced the Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act of 2013. This bill is virtually identical to the bill that was overwhelmingly passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee in November. Last year, over 30 former prosecutors and judges joined together in support of Senator Leahy’s efforts to require law enforcement to obtain a warrant before they may access the content of electronic communications, a requirement supported by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). In support of Senator Leahy’s previous effort, the former law enforcement officials issued a letter arguing that there is “no difference” between communications mailed through the postal service, “or communications that are stored in a desk drawer, and electronic communications sent via a third-party service provider.” Read More

News Release ~ 03/15/2013b
Shortchanging the Sixth Amendment: New Report Reveals Severe Underfunding of Assigned Counsel Systems -- Washington, DC (March 15, 2013) – NACDL today releases a report revealing the woefully inadequate compensation rates received by assigned defense counsel across the fifty U.S. states. Prepared by NACDL’s Indigent Defense Counsel John Gross, Rationing Justice: The Underfunding of Assigned Counsel Systems documents the low rates paid to assigned counsel and how that results in defendants receiving inadequate representation. As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Gideon v. Wainwright on Monday, March 18, this report serves as a stark reminder that much work remains to secure the meaningful protection of Americans’ Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Read More

News Release ~ 03/15/2013
Maryland Legislature Votes to Repeal the Death Penalty -- Washington, DC (March 15, 2013) – The state of Maryland today moved one step closer to abolishing the death penalty. The House of Delegates – by a margin of 82 to 56 – voted to repeal the death penalty in Maryland. Governor O’Malley, who has made the legislation one of his top priorities, is expected to sign the bill into law. The Maryland Senate passed the bill last week. Read More

News Release ~ 03/08/2013
Gerald B. Lefcourt, President of the Foundation for Criminal Justice, Recognized with Norman S. Ostrow Award -- Washington, DC (March 8, 2013) – The New York Council of Defense Lawyers today honored Gerald Lefcourt with the 2013 Norman S. Ostrow Award at a special luncheon in his honor at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. The Ostrow Award is conferred in memory of an outstanding defense lawyer, Norman S. Ostrow, who was one of the founding members of the New York Council of Defense Lawyers. The Award is presented for outstanding contributions to “the defense of liberty and the preservation of human rights.” Lefcourt is the current president of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for Criminal Justice and served as NACDL President for the 1997-98 year. Read More

News Release ~ 03/05/2013
Media Alert: Gideon at 50 Event on March 12, 2013 -- Fifty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Gideon v. Wainwright and forever changed America’s criminal justice system.  No longer was the Sixth Amendment right to counsel available only to those with the means to afford it; it was there for everyone charged with a felony.  Since then, the right has been extended to include many misdemeanors and juvenile delinquency proceedings.  But half a century later, fulfilling the promise of Gideon remains a continuing challenge.  Join us as our distinguished panel of experts reflects on the continuing challenge of how to ensure access to this fundamental right and highlights promising state innovations. Read More

News Release ~ 03/04/2013
NACDL Board Adopts DNA-Related Resolutions at Midwinter Meeting -- Washington, DC (March 4, 2013) – On February 23, 2013, the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) adopted three important DNA-related Resolutions at its Midwinter Meeting. Read More

News Release ~ 02/21/2013
Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions: Law, Policy and Practice Offers Roadmap to the Restoration of Rights After Conviction -- Washington, DC (February 21, 2013) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ NACDL Press and Thomson Reuters Westlaw today announce the release of the second book of their joint publishing venture, Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions: Law, Policy and Practice by Margaret Colgate Love, Jenny Roberts, and Cecelia Klingele. This volume is a comprehensive resource for practicing civil and criminal lawyers, judges and policymakers on the legal restrictions and penalties that result from a criminal conviction over and above the court-imposed sentence. Read More

News Release ~ 02/19/2013
Dog Sniffs Can Establish Probable Cause for a Search; Defendants Must Contest Reliability in the Trial Court -- Washington, DC (February 19, 2013) – In a disappointing decision, the United States Supreme Court today enshrined in law a dog’s wide latitude to determine Americans’ constitutional right to be free from unwarranted search and seizure. In siding with the dog in Florida v. Harris (No. 11-817), the Court misses the point. An alert by a “trained” or “certified” drug detection dog by itself should be insufficient to establish probable cause, as the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) argued in its joint amicus curiae brief to the Court in this case. Read More

News Release ~ 02/15/2013(2)
Hearings on Barriers to Social Re-Entry for Individuals with Convictions and Collateral Consequences of Criminal Conviction -- Washington, DC (February 15, 2013) – With more than 65 million Americans possessing a criminal record, the consequences of conviction – specific legal barriers, generalized discrimination, and social stigma – have become more numerous and severe, more public, and more permanent. These restrictions affect jobs and licenses, housing, public benefits, judicial rights, parental rights, interstate travel, and even volunteer opportunities. Moreover, the legal mechanisms relied on in the past to restore rights and status for formerly convicted individuals have atrophied or become ineffective, with the result that a significant percentage of the American public is permanently consigned to second class citizenship. Read More

News Release ~ 02/15/2013
Four Years On, No Action on NAS Forensic Science Report; Across the Nation, Crime Lab Scandals Abound --Washington, DC (February 15, 2013) – Four years ago Monday, on February 18, 2009, the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) issued a report to Congress sharply critical of the forensic science system in the U.S., finding an inconsistent system rife with “serious deficiencies.” Read More

News Release ~ 02/13/2013
Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar Strongly Supports Maryland Effort to Repeal the Death Penalty -- Washington, DC (February 13, 2013) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) today submitted testimony to the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates in support of SB276/HB295, legislation to repeal the death penalty in Maryland. Hearings on the legislation are scheduled to take place tomorrow, February 14, in both the state House and Senate. Read More

News Release ~ 02/05/2013
DOJ White Paper on Extrajudicial Execution of U.S. Citizens Tortures Core American Constitutional Principles -- Washington, DC (February 5, 2013) – Overnight, NBC News exclusively released a confidential Department of Justice document that purports to justify the extrajudicial execution of U.S. citizens by an Executive Branch acting as prosecutor, judge and jury and with no charges, hearing or opportunity to be heard for the accused. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is deeply disturbed by the contortion of the legal principles of warfare and self-defense reflected in this “White Paper.” Read More

News Release ~ 01/26/2013
Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar Remembers Past President Murray J. Janus -- Washington, DC (January 26, 2013) – Richmond, Va., attorney and Past President (1981-82) and Life Member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) Murray J. Janus passed away overnight. Janus was also a former president of the Richmond Bar Association and the Richmond Criminal Bar Association, as well as a past chair of the Virginia State Bar’s Criminal Law Section. The Association remembers Murray with immense gratitude for his leadership of the nation’s criminal defense bar and his lifelong commitment to the principles and values that define NACDL. Read More

News Release ~ 01/14/2013
Noted Defense Attorney Abbe David Lowell Receives White Collar Criminal Defense Award from NACDL, Stetson Law -- Washington, DC (January 14, 2013) -- On a Saturday night in January, the winner of the 2013 White Collar Criminal Defense Award was presented at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Fla. Notable litigator Abbe David Lowell, whose high-profile clients include former U.S. presidential candidate Senator John Edwards, intelligence analyst Stephen Jin-Woo Kim and Tampa socialite Jill Kelley, received the award during the NACDL White Collar Criminal Defense College at Stetson on Jan. 12. Read More

News Release ~ 01/08/2013
Groundbreaking Report Offers Solutions to America’s Indigent Defense Crisis as Nation Marks 50 Years of Gideon v. Wainwright -- Washington, DC (January 8, 2013) – As the nation enters the 50th anniversary year of Gideon, the landmark Supreme Court decision clarifying that the Sixth Amendment’s right to counsel applies regardless of whether a defendant can afford to pay an attorney, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Legal Aid & Indigent Defendants (ABA/SCLAID), with invaluable support provided by the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), today release a critically important new report, National Indigent Defense Reform: The Solution is Multifaceted. Read More

News Release ~ 01/03/2013
President Obama Signs Bill to Keep Detainees at Guantanamo -- Washington, DC (January 3, 2013) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) expresses its deep disappointment that despite his administration’s stated commitment to close the Guantanamo detention facility, as well as the urging of dozens of religious, civil and human rights groups, including NACDL, President Obama decided not to use his veto power to stop the enactment of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act and its provisions restricting the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo for either repatriation or resettlement overseas or prosecution in the United States. Instead, President Obama again signed these restrictions into lawyesterday, January 2, 2013. Read More

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