I hope this message finds you, your loved ones, and your colleagues doing well. As this national emergency continues, I write to apprise you of some of the work NACDL has been doing to serve you, NACDL’s members and Liberty’s Last Champions, your clients, and the cause of a more fair, just, and humane criminal justice system.
California Lawsuit Seeking the Urgent Reduction of County Jail and Juvenile Facility Populations
Late Friday, April 24, NACDL, joined by its California affiliate – California Attorneys for Criminal Justice – and the Youth Justice Coalition, and represented by the ACLU Foundation, the ACLU Foundations of Southern California, Northern California, and San Diego & Imperial Counties, and the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, filed suit in the California Supreme Court seeking an immediate and significant reduction of county jail and juvenile facility populations throughout the State of California. As explained in the Petition and Supporting Memorandum, the conditions in these facilities constitute violations of the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment as well as violations of individuals’ Due Process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment, in addition to violations of the California Constitution and other state and federal laws.
NACDL CLEs, Webinars, and Coronavirus Resources
NACDL has continued its production and dissemination of the very best in CLE programs, online of course, with much to choose from. For example, as you will see if you click the link in the previous sentence, there will be an exclusive, one-time 6-hour webinar opportunity airing Friday, May 1 – Pozner on Cross: Advanced Techniques Using the Chapter Method©. And to lend a hand during difficult times, NACDL offered a series of free CLE webinars, which I am thrilled to report had more than 700 registrants. As we face so much uncertainty in these times, NACDL will continue to bring you the quality continuing legal education programs that you have come to expect over the years.
NACDL is also producing free webinars for its members on topics of professional interest. As part of NACDL’s Work from Home Resources, NACDL held a live work from home webinar to provide you with assistance, specific tips, and strategies to help maximize productivity and aid clients, while maintaining mental and physical well-being, which is so very important. That video is available on-demand via the Work from Home Resources link above. In recent days, NACDL also produced and made available a human resources-related webinar – HR Perspective on Federal COVID-19 Responses. And NACDL expects to soon release a webinar on federal assistance for lawyers in various practice settings, which will complement the “Government Assistance for Small Businesses” resources linked in NACDL’s Coronavirus Resource.
NACDL’s Coronavirus Resource, launched in mid-March and growing each day, has drawn more than 11,000 unique visits. As far as the templates and sample court papers are concerned, there have been thousands of downloads. In fact, the template for a motion to challenge the continued pre-trial confinement of at-risk clients, predicated upon a model motion that was graciously provided by the Federal Defenders of New York, has been downloaded more than 2,000 times. It is heartening, but no surprise, that in an unprecedented national health crisis, defense lawyers would rush to the aid of their clients.
COVID-19 Federal Compassionate Release Project
I also want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have volunteered for this vitally important project launched by NACDL, FAMM, and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. It’s not too late to volunteer. You can learn more about the Project and volunteer via this link.
These have been several of the most extraordinarily difficult weeks in our nation’s history. From where I sit as the Executive Director of this magnificent organization, I can only say that I am each day bursting with pride over what all of you do each and every day, all in the face of incredible adversity. NACDL, its leadership, and its professional staff, will continue to work to support you, Liberty’s Last Champions, in every single way that we can.
So much of what NACDL does is supported by the NACDL Foundation for Criminal Justice. Your support, at whatever level and in whatever form, is critical to our mission. If you are able and moved to do so, please click here to donate to the NACDL Foundation for Criminal Justice.
Stay well and safe.
Norman L. Reimer
Executive Director, NACDL