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Criminal Defense Lawyers Fulfill a Vital Role
By Carmen D. Hernandez
President's Column columns.
I am honored to follow in the footsteps of all our great past presidents
and to have been sworn in by Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa, with whom I
often disagree but whose integrity, intellect and sense of fair play I
respect. My involvement with NACDL began after I went to the mountain —
the Criminal Defense College in Macon, Ga. There I was taught by NACDL
members, who as a group were the best, brightest and most committed
lawyers I had ever met; I left a changed person and a much better
lawyer. In the years to follow, Congress and the executive branch
conducted an assault on the rights of defendants that have threatened
the promise of justice: the AEDPA, which decimated the Great Writ of
habeas corpus; the PROTECT Act; the PATRIOT Act; the indeterminate
detention of American citizens without being charged or being allowed to
speak with an attorney; the sanctioning of torture and the adoption of
rendition policies that offend our core principles; and all the oth
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