Mission & Values

Mission

Ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime...

Foster the integrity, independence and expertise of the criminal defense profession...

Promote the proper and fair administration of criminal justice.

Values

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) encourages, at all levels of federal, state and local government, a rational and humane criminal justice policy for America -- one that promotes fairness for all; due process for even the least among us who may be accused of wrongdoing; compassion for witnesses and victims of crime; and just punishment for the guilty.

Such a policy respects cherished civil rights and liberties that are fundamental to our democracy. Citizens have a right to expect privacy in their homes, vehicles, and communications; a right not to be deprived of their liberty or property without due process of law; and a right to consult counsel of their choice without it being used against them. America fought for and declared its independence to preserve these rights, and our Founding Fathers inscribed them into the Constitution. But the past decade's much-heralded "War on Drugs" and crackdown on crime has become a war on ourselves. It has run roughshod over these and other essential rights that citizens across the nation hold dear.

Equally important, a rational and humane crime policy must focus on the social and economic benefits of crime prevention -- through education, economic opportunity, and rehabilitation of former offenders. As a society, we need to eschew such simplistic, expensive, and ineffective "solutions" as inflexible mandatory sentencing, undue restriction of meritorious appeals, punishment of children as adults, and the erosion of the constitutional rights of all Americans because of the transgressions of a few.

NACDL's values reflect the Association's abiding mission to ensure justice and due process for all.