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.
A year ago, I attended the 70th birthday party of a former NACDL Board Member. Many of the guests were his colleagues in another smaller, selective organization of generally affluent criminal defense lawyers. Some of them were once active NACDL members. I asked one why he was no longer active in NACDL. He said we had become an organization controlled by and dedicated primarily to the issues of public defenders.
A week later, I read a report by our Indigent Defense Committee that included a survey of public defenders' views of NACDL. One public defender responded that we are an organization controlled by and dedicated primarily to the issues of white-collar defense attorneys.
Both generalizations are wrong!
We are a robust mix of all types of criminal defense lawyers. NACDL is comprised of specialists in legal areas as diverse as the death penalty and DWI.
We are the representatives of all criminal defense attorneys and the advocates for all issues of importance to criminal defense attorneys.
There is a vast commonality of interests between the public defender and white-collar bars. We are all concerned with the erosion of the constitutional right to counsel. The failure of state and local governments to provide sufficient funding so that indigent defenders can adequately represent their clients is just the other side of the coin from governmental pre-trial seizure of assets so that a white-collar attorney cannot adequately defend her client.
We are all concerned with the deterioration of the protection against unreasonable searches, the gradual erosion of the right to reasonable bail, the frequent rewriting of procedural and evidentiary laws to favor the prosecution, the constant ratcheting up of sentences, the transfer of the sentencing power from judges to grids, and the horrendous conditions of our prisons.
Impact on one today and another tomorrow
Issues that impact on one segment of our bar today will impact on another one tomorrow. About 15 years ago, I had lunch with a prominent, successful, white-collar criminal defense attorney. I tried to get him to join NACDL. He said that NACDL issues were not his. I argued that many of our issues were the same and that others that we were fighting at the time would be important to him later. I cited our fight against government forfeiture of our fees in narcotics cases and said, if we lost, in a few years the government would be seizing fees in white-collar cases. He disagreed, and he did not join us. Several years later, a federal court denied his request for trial fees from funds of a high-profile client that had been seized by the government prior to trial.
We are in a time of crisis.
The government seeks — under the guise of war powers — to suspend rights as basic as access to courts for those imprisoned. We cannot afford to dilute our effort.
Public defender and white-collar lawyers, single practitioners and big firm attorneys, we must be united. We are one bar — the criminal defense bar.
A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence: A Trial Practice Handbook for Criminal Defense Attorneys
This Guide to Federal Evidence is the only federal evidence handbook written exclusively for criminal defense lawyers. The Guide analyzes each Federal Rule of Evidence and outlines the main evidentiary issues that confront criminal defense lawyers. It also summarizes countless defense favorable cases and provides tips on how to avoid common evidentiary pitfalls. The Guide contains multiple user-friendly flowcharts aimed at helping the criminal defense lawyer tackle evidence problems. A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence is an indispensable tool in preparing a case for trial.
Modern Digital Evidence & Technologies in Criminal Cases
Modern cases need modern defenses, and modern lawyers can't practice with an outdated playbook. This program is a contemporary training that identifies emerging technologies and digital evidence encountered in today's criminal cases and arms you with the tools necessary to combat expert witnesses, prosecutorial overreach, and an uneducated judge and jury. This comprehensive CLE program covers both general aspects of new technologies as well as practical courtroom application and legal challenges to the use of these new technologies.
Top Shelf DUI Defenses: The Law, The Science, The Techniques (2021)
If you are serious about being an effective DUI defense advocate, or if you’re considering adding DUI defenses to your portfolio, you need to know the latest scientific and legal strategies to optimize your success at trial. Learn from the best-of-the-best in the field in this unique CLE Program, updated for 2021.
Defending Modern Drug Cases (2021)
From challenging the arrest and seizure to picking a jury and cross-examining police officers, defense attorneys handling drug cases must be able to construct a defense that will increase the chances of the client getting a positive result for your client.
Effective motion practice, juror selection, and storytelling have never been more important. This seminar will introduce defense counsel to techniques that have been used at recent drug trials to rebut specific claims and overcome the emotion created in today’s criminal legal system.