Access to The Champion archive is one of many exclusive member benefits. It’s normally restricted to just NACDL members. However, this content, and others like it, is available to everyone in order to educate the public on why criminal justice reform is a necessity.
The NACDL Task Force Issues a Report and Calls for Reform
In September, after a two-year study, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Problem-Solving Courts Task Force issued its comprehensive report titled America’s Problem-Solving Courts: The Criminal Costs of Treatment and the Case for Reform. The report provides a review of problem-solving courts — specifically drug courts — and includes recommendations that would enable these courts to more successfully manage people with substance abuse problems and alleviate the stress on prisons and taxpayers.
Many of these courts force people to enter a guilty plea in order to gain access to court-supervised treatment programs. Even if an addicted individual achieves lasting sobriety, learns to control antisocial behavior, and is unlikely to become a repeat offender, the consequences of a criminal conviction can be lifelong and devastating. As such, the NACDL Task Force’s overarching conclusion is that substance abuse should be treated as a public health concern that is handled outside the criminal justice arena.
The recommendations of the task force include: (1) opening admission criteria to all who need, want, and request treatment; (2) enforcing greater transparency in admission practices and relying on expert assessments, not merely the judgment of prosecutors; (3) prohibiting the requirement of guilty pleas as the price of admission; and (4) considering the ethical obligations of the defense lawyer to the client even if the client chooses court-directed treatment.
Drug courts — first created 20 years ago as an emergency response to an epidemic of drug-related criminal cases that clogged courts and prisons — have in many places become an obstacle to making cost-efficient drug abuse therapy available to addicts and reducing criminal case loads. Many of these courts have encouraged a team approach in dealing with clients: the prosecutor, judge, and defense counsel become part of a team that discusses the case of the individual. This breach of ethics allows the defense attorney little opportunity to zealously advocate on behalf of the client. Moreover, when compared to traditional courts, problem-solving courts often underserve minorities, immigrants, and those with few financial resources.
More than 2,100 problem-solving courts exist today in nearly every state, yet incarceration levels for drug offenders and the costs to taxpayers have skyrocketed. State courts and prisons are still overflowing with people charged with use or street-level sale of drugs. The FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2008 (www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2008/arrests/index.html) listed 1.7 million drug arrests. This is 12.2 percent of all reported crimes — 4,658 arrests every day, roughly one arrest every 18 seconds.
There is no single model for drug courts. Some work fairly well; many do not. NACDL offers recommendations in the report for significant structural reform of the existing system. The Association stands committed to ensuring these recommendations become part of informed public policy decisions.
Cross-Examination Trial Pack
NACDL’s new Cross-Examination Trial Pack includes three of our best-selling Cross-Examination resources: “Damage Control: Situational Cross-Examination Techniques Trial Guide”, "Ultimate Cross 2.0: Audio Recordings & Written Materials" and "Sample Cross-Examination Questions."
This masterful collection of cross-examination resources provide countless tips, techniques and strategies for a variety of criminal case-specific scenarios. Learn to cross-examine a variety of trial witnesses!
Death Investigation: Forensic Pathology in the Courtroom and Cause & Manner of Death (2022)
This unique program provides criminal defense lawyers with an accurate and clear overview of forensic pathology and the countless factors to consider in a death investigation and will methodically explain what happens during an autopsy to determine cause and manner of death.
You'll uncover the different types of medicolegal death investigations, what to request from your MDI expert, quality benchmarks for accreditation and certification, guidelines and standards, common terminology and frequently asked questions.
The Psychology of Persuasion & Storytelling for Criminal Defense Lawyers
This Trial Resource Guide is a masterful collection of practical tips, techniques and strategies focused solely on using the arts and sciences of persuasion to improve your storytelling skills at trial.
You'll learn how to master the ability to communicate with juries, deliver powerful openings and closings, perform convincing cross-examinations, use effective courtroom choreography and non-verbal communication, identify and develop the optimal theme and theory for your case, and offer compelling arguments during mitigation and sentencing.
Zealous Advocacy in Sexual Assault & Child Victims Cases (2022)
Defending charges of sexual assault and child abuse can be daunting — but with the right tools, it doesn’t have to be.
Every year, NACDL identifies the hottest topics and most pressing issues when defending these cases, and brings-in nationally-renowned lawyers and experts to help you prepare for battle. This year’s 13th Annual Defending Sex Cases training program is our best yet; packed with topics and speakers you won’t want to miss!