The Foundation for Criminal Justice preserves and promotes the core values of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the American criminal justice system. Ongoing and recent projects supported by the FCJ include an unprecedented study of obstacles to restoration of rights and status after conviction; a conference to identify concrete and easily-achieved solutions to racial disparities in the criminal justice system; an ongoing series of events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark Gideon v. Wainwright decision; free trainings for lawyers on a variety of topics including representing juveniles accused of wrongdoing and individuals facing immigration-related collateral consequences of conviction; and efforts to improve indigent defense in federal and state courts.
Celebrating Liberty's Last Champions: Guardians of the Constitution
The Foundation for Criminal Justice held its 2014 awards dinner on August 1, celebrating Liberty’s Last Champions™, Guardians of the Constitution. The work of the foundation is only possible because of the tens of thousands of criminal defense lawyers across the country who dedicate their careers to guarding the fundamental protections of the Constitution.
Here are some highlights of the event.
Learn more about the event.
Foundation - Highlights
Eliminating Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System
The Foundation for Criminal Justice sponsored Criminal justice in the 21st Century: Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparity in the Criminal Justice System in partnership with NACDL and other partners. This groundbreaking project brought together leading experts from all corners of the criminal justice system over two conferences to identify effective and practical solutions to end racial and ethnic criminal justice disparities. Articles from the two conferences appeared in The New York University Journal of Legislation & Public Policy and in a series of articles published in The Champion, in addition to a three-part podcast series.
Learn more about the project.
Domestic Drone Information Center
NACDL’s Domestic Drone Information Center provides a one-stop source of cutting-edge information on the proliferation of drones inside the United States. It collects news from leading publications across the nation; features a comprehensive listing of legislative developments; and contains sections devoted to relevant case law, scholarship, upcoming events, and data on drone usage. The Domestic Drone Information Center also aggregates existing material from other websites, making it a launching pad to additional information about domestic drones on the web. This project was made possible in part by support from the Foundation for Criminal Justice.
Visit the Center.
Excessive Sentencing: NACDL's Proportionality Litigation Project
With support from the Foundation for Criminal Justice, NACDL published 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.
Read about the project.
The Task Force on the Restoration of Rights
The Foundation for Criminal Justice is funding NACDL’s Task Force on the Restoration of Rights and Status After Conviction. The Task Force is currently holding hearings across the United States to look at the legal mechanisms used to restore rights and status, such as pardons, expungements, and certificates of good conduct. Following these hearings, the Task Force will produce a report identifying best practices, and specific legislative and policy proposals to facilitate restoration of rights and status after completion of sentence.
Learn more about the Task Force.
Restoration of Rights and Status After Conviction
The FCJ supports NACDL’s Task Force on the Restoration of Rights and Status After Conviction. The Task Force held hearings across the United States to look at the legal mechanisms used to restore rights and status, such as pardons, expungements, and certificates of good conduct. The Task Force is now finishing a report identifying best practices, and specific legislative and policy proposals to facilitate restoration of rights and status after completion of sentence.
Read more about this project.
Access to Competent Counsel
In partnership with NACDL and other allies, the FCJ supports indigent defense reform in several states and in the federal system. The FCJ's efforts to ensure the right to counsel include support for projects including impact litigation, academic conferences on the status of the right to cousnel, developing research, reports and resources for stakeholders and reformers, and other projects. The FCJ also supports NACDL's Indigent Defense Reform and Litigation Fund.
FCJ support enabled the release of several major reports on various issues that contribute to the indigent defense crisis in America. These reports and others can be found at www.nacdl.org/reports. Some specific examples include:
Representing Juvenile Defendants
The FCJ is also funding a number of NACDL projects designed to address sentencing reform after the Supreme Court’s decisions in Graham v. Florida and Miller v Alabama. Both decisions are landmark events in juvenile justice; the Graham holding that no juvenile defendant can be sentenced to life without parole for a non-homicide offense, and Miller banning mandatory life-without-parole sentances for juvenile offenders. With support from the FCJ, NACDL has conducted multiple online trainings aimed at individuals who represent juveniles in adult court.
View recent trainings.
Representing Individuals Facing Immigration-Related Consequences
The FCJ supported scholarships that allowed over 50 immigration faculty, immigration experts, public defenders, trainers of trainers, and similar candidates to attend a March 2014 seminar on collateral consequences of conviction that included immigration-specific parallel programming.
This seminar followed the FCJ's and NACDL's other efforts in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in Padilla v. Kentucky that lawyers must advise clients of possible immigration-related collateral consequences of conviction. Shortly after the decision, the FCJ suppoted the creation of a series of free, live web trainings on implications of the decision. Sessions focused on an overview of current and emerging issues, drug offenses, and domestic and violence cases.
Additionally, and with support from the FCJ, NACDL and the National Legal Aid and Defender
Association (NLADA) co-hosted a convening of leading defense lawyers,
law professors, and other stakeholders to discuss the impact of the
Supreme Court's decision in Padilla v. Kentucky. The convening, whch took place in summer 2011, was documente in the Fordham Urban Law Journal. You can read more about the convening, read the table of contents the table of contents, or contact Daniel Weir for a copy of the journal documenting the convening.
Watch the trainings.