NACDL envisions a society in which all individuals receive fair, rational, and humane treatment within the criminal legal system. To this end, NACDL endorses zealous, client-centered advocacy. Indeed, it is critical that criminal defense lawyers serve their clients by attacking the relevance and admissibility of evidence, by bringing forth facts that establish that the accused is innocent or that their conduct was excused, justified, or not proven. This right to present a full and complete defense is essential.
NACDL, however, does not support advocacy that dehumanizes individuals, groups, or communities on the basis of race or any other constitutionally protected class. Instead, NACDL supports all efforts to reform any norms, rules, laws, principles, or systems that propagate, protect, or encourage dehumanization based on race or on the basis of any constitutionally protected characteristic. Dehumanizing individuals based on these characteristics, especially race, does violence not only to the individuals, families, and communities directly involved but also to a society seeking to redress centuries of racial discrimination, division, and discord. As reflected in our Vision, Mission, and Strategic Plan, NACDL strives for the abolition of racism in all its forms in the legal system.
Resolution of the Board of Directors
February 26, 2022