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Concerning the Coronavirus

A Message From Executive Director Norman Reimer. 


First and foremost, we hope that you, your colleagues, family, and friends are staying safe and well. Please heed all applicable precautions.

At NACDL, we are fully aware of the unique challenges of this perilous time facing the criminal defense bar, as well as our clients, and their families. As we have communicated to you in recent weeks, the NACDL staff remains hard at work from our homes to provide the services and support that you, our members, have come to rely upon. Additionally, NACDL’s various committees continue to press forward addressing ongoing issues, as well as unique concerns related to the virus pandemic.

With regard to the virus, to further NACDL’s focus on service and support for our members, clients, and communities throughout the coronavirus emergency, today NACDL has launched a public resource section of the NACDL website addressing the intersection of the criminal justice system and the coronavirus pandemic. This NACDL resource is available at:

I also thank all of you who answered the call in NACDL President Nina J. Ginsberg’s March 17, 2020, message to send in helpful forms and other resources to NACDL Senior Director of Public Affairs and Communications Ivan J. Dominguez ( Today, I ask that you continue to do so. The response thus far has been overwhelming. Indeed, we are still in the process of adding submitted material to this resource and will continue to update it throughout this national emergency.

This resource provides links to NACDL statements, messages, and positions; motions, pleadings, rulings, and other court papers related to COVID-19 and at-risk clients; advocacy letters on which NACDL is a signatory; a multitude of resources from across the criminal justice community; and a daily updated news feed with news of interest on the intersection of criminal justice and the coronavirus. Included in the identified resource categories are End Incarceration's tracking of changes to incarcerated populations across the country, Courthouse News Service's and the Brennan Center for Justice's tracking of changes and responses of federal and state courts nationwide, and The Marshall Project's tracking of prisons' responses to the virus, including changes to visitation rules, among many other resources. We very much hope that you will make use of these resources and that they will aid you in confronting the challenges we and our clients face in this pandemic.

Also this week, NACDL released its March 19, 2020, NACDL Statement of Principles and Further Call to Action Concerning COVID-19 and America's Criminal Justice System, which expands upon the concerns expressed in NACDL’s March 4, 2020, Call for Prompt Implementation of Comprehensive, Concrete, and Transparent COVID-19 Coronavirus Readiness Plans for Nation’s Prisons, Jails, and Other Detention Facilities. In its March 19, 2020, Statement of Principles, NACDL calls upon federal, state, and local officials to implement eleven specific items set forth in that statement. NACDL encourages you to use this and all the resources made available on NACDL’s Coronavirus Resources page to effect change in your local community, your state, and beyond.

Finally, especially during a time when fear and uncertainty is coupled with social distancing, it is tremendously important to maintain contact with all the communities important to our lives. I hope that NACDL members will remain engaged with each other through NACDL’s various listserves and other platforms. And please remember that if you have special needs during this time, the NACDL family has a long history of supporting its brothers and sisters. Those of us on the staff are here to help facilitate that support. Please do not hesitate to call upon us.

Rest assured that NACDL will continue working on your behalf to support our members, Liberty’s Last Champions, throughout this difficult time.

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