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The Champion

August 2013 , Page 05 

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From the President: Rising to the Challenge to Protect Liberty

By Jerry J. Cox

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 This column — the first written by NACDL’s incoming president each August — has traditionally served as a call to action for the defense bar. In years past, the writer has used it to impress upon us the unique responsibilities criminal defense lawyers hold. The president has urged the protection of defendants’ rights in every way possible to ensure that constitutional safeguards and guarantees are not infringed upon and to encourage each defense advocate to truly be Liberty’s Last ChampionTM.

As I begin my own term as president of this esteemed association, the words of my predecessors could not be more fitting. Current events make it easy to be cynical and now, perhaps more than ever, liberty is once again in jeopardy. We, the nation’s criminal defense bar, must once again rise to the challenge of protecting it. And yet, now is also a time to be optimistic, for we have a unique opportunity to bring about progressive reforms to the criminal justice system.

As I write, the na

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