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Morton Case Shows Need for Discovery Reform - Washington, DC (December 19, 2011) – The release today of a report by lawyers for DNA exoneree Michael Morton, released this fall after serving nearly a quarter-century for a murder he did not commit, underscores the necessity of reforming the discovery process in America’s criminal justice system.
Indefinite Military Detention Undermines the Rule of Law - Washington, DC (December 15, 2011) – With passage last night in the House of Representatives, the National Defense Authorization Act appears poised to pass the Senate and go to the President’s desk. This is despite ten years of experience in fighting terrorism at home and abroad having proven the president already has the power and the tools to neutralize threats to domestic and national security, and to punish terror crimes, without destroying American values and nullifying the Bill of Rights.
Congress Must Reject Defense Authorization Act - Washington, DC (Dec. 13, 2011) – Congress must vote down the current version of the National Defense Authorization Act released last night. Ten years of experience in fighting terrorism at home and abroad have proven the president already has the power and the tools to neutralize threats to domestic and national security, and to punish terror crimes, without destroying American values and nullifying the Bill of Rights. President Obama has threatened to veto the bill.
Denver, Colo., Attorney Norman R. Mueller Elected to Board of Directors of National Criminal Defense Bar Assn. - Washington, DC (December 12, 2011) – In a special election held last month to fill a vacancy, Denver attorney Norman R. Mueller was elected to NACDL's Board of Directors at the fall board meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Florida Supreme Court Hears Argument on State’s Strict Liability Felony Drug Law - Washington, DC (December 6, 2011) – This morning, the justices of the Florida Supreme Court expressed considerable skepticism for whether a person can be found guilty for unknowingly possessing an illegal drug.
America One Step Closer to Codifying Indefinite Detention Without Charge - Washington, DC (December 2, 2011) – Late last night, in the face of a presidential veto threat, the U.S. Senate passed its version of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act containing some of the most harmful legislation to our criminal justice system adopted since September 11, 2001.
NACDL to Honor 50th Anniversary of Gideon - Washington, DC (November 28, 2011) -- At its fall meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, on November 19, 2011, NACDL’s Board of Directors adopted a resolution committing NACDL to engage in a year-long commemoration of Gideon v. Wainwright, highlighting the Association’s resolve to fulfill Gideon’s promise.
Nevada Supreme Court Justice Michael Cherry Receives NACDL Champion of Indigent Defense Award - Washington, DC (November 28, 2011) – At its fall board meeting in Las Vegas, Nev., NACDL presented Nevada Supreme Court Justice Michael Cherry with its 2011 Champion of Indigent Defense Award. It is the first time since the award was initially presented in 2002 that a judge has received the honor.
Systemic Concealment in Ted Stevens Case: New Law Needed to Prevent Future Injustices - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov. 21, 2011) – Today’s decision by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan underscores the need for federal legislation setting forth with complete clarity prosecutors’ “affirmative duty to disclose evidence favorable to a defendant.”
America's Grand Jury System: A Blueprint for Reform - Washington, DC (November 10, 2011) – NACDL today releases a groundbreaking new report on restoring and reforming the grand jury system-- Evaluating Grand Jury Reform in Two States: The Case for Reform. This research reflects an in-depth study of grand jury reform in two states – New York and Colorado. In conducting this study, researchers Erin Crites, Jon Gould and Colleen Shepard of the Center for Justice, Law & Society at George Mason University studied the experiences of prosecutors, defense lawyers and retired judges.
Appeals Court to Decide Constitutionality of Florida's Drug Laws - Washington, DC (November 2, 2011) – A diverse group of organizations and law professors concerned about the elimination of intent requirements in criminal statutes are urging the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm U.S. District Court Judge Mary Scriven’s July ruling that Florida’s law prohibiting possession, sale or delivery of controlled substances is “unconstitutional on its face.”
Minorities Still Burdened with Mandatory Minimum Sentences - WASHINGTON, DC (Nov. 1, 2011) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) has opposed mandatory minimum sentences for two and a half decades. The U.S. Sentencing Commission’s comprehensive report on mandatory minimum sentences, released yesterday, shows that statutory mandatory minimum penalties “apply too broadly, are set too high, or both, to warrant the prescribed minimum penalty for the full range of offenders who could be prosecuted under the particular criminal statute.”
DOJ Must Explain Missile Attacks on U.S. Citizens Abroad - WASHINGTON, DC (Oct. 28, 2011) – In the past few weeks, U.S. Predator drone aircraft have targeted and killed three U.S. citizens in Yemen. In late September, citizens Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan were killed by a missile from a U.S. Predator drone aircraft.
PENN LAW SYMPOSIUM Sentencing Law: Rhetoric and Reality - Washington, DC (Oct. 24) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the University of Pennsylvania Law Review will host a symposium, “Sentencing Law: Rhetoric and Reality,” at Penn Law School on October 28 and 29. A diverse and distinguished group of speakers will discuss topics such as prison overcrowding, the expansion of criminal law and sentencing, the war on drugs, the future of sentencing guidelines, and more.
Washington, DC (Oct. 24, 2011) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is pleased to announce that attorney Mason C. Clutter of Washington, D.C. today joins the association’s national office as National Security Counsel. Ms. Clutter will guide NACDL’s efforts to confront the increasing curtailment of fundamental rights under the rubric of national security and will provide resources to both civilian and military lawyers as they encounter national security issues in criminal prosecutions.
Judicial Independence Symposium Oct. 20th at DePaul College of Law - What happens when judges who interpret the laws of the land face criticism from people who feel wronged by those interpretations? Is the effectiveness of judges premised on the notion that they will not face retaliation for judicial acts? Issues of judicial independence like these will be explored at a day-long symposium co-sponsored by the DePaul University College of Law’s Journal for Social Justice and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Nat'l Criminal Defense Bar to Hold Hearings on Barriers to Re-Entry and the Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Record - Washington, DC (Oct. 17, 2011) – It has been reported that as many as one in four American adults have a criminal record, some 65 million people. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is a leading national voice calling attention to this matter of significant public concern -- the vast expansion in recent decades of the criminal law and its intended and unintended consequences in American society.
World Day Against the Death Penalty - Washington, DC (October 7, 2011) – Today there are over 3,200 prisoners on death rows around the United States. The United States is one of a decreasing number of countries (now a minority) worldwide that continues to support the death penalty. As of 2010, 139 countries are abolitionist countries in law or practice.
Civil Liberties and Defense Groups Seek to Require Warrants for Police GPS Surveillance -- Washington, DC (Oct. 5, 2011) – This week marks the opening of the United States Supreme Court’s 2011-12 term. In what is widely expected to be one of the most important liberty and privacy cases in decades, on Nov. 8, the court will hear argument on whether the government’s secret use of a GPS tracking device on a defendant’s vehicle for a month was a search that required a warrant.
A Message from NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer: Criminal Defenders' New Home on the Web - Washington, DC (Sept. 22, 2011) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the nation’s preeminent criminal defense bar association, is proud to announce the launch of its completely new and upgraded Website. Please take a few minutes to look around explore many new and exciting features.
A Message from NACDL President Lisa Wayne: Politics Killed Troy Davis Last Night - Washington, DC (Sept. 22, 2011) -- The death penalty is an emotional issue, of course. Strong feelings on both sides are genuine and understandable. What we know is, more than 75 percent of the death row inmates exonerated by DNA testing were convicted on the basis of eyewitness misidentification.
Clemency for Troy Davis - Washington, DC (Sept. 17, 2011) -- As the fourth execution date looms for Troy Davis, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer again appeals to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole to halt the execution Mr. Davis. In 2007, the Board said it would not allow an execution to proceed if there “was any doubt” as to the guilt of a prisoner. Evidence adduced at his 2010 hearing underscores the reality that there is far too much doubt surrounding Mr. Davis’s guilt to allow his execution.
Michael DiLauro Receives NACDL's 2011 Inaugural Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award - Washington, DC (Aug. 11, 2011) –Michael DiLauro, Assistant Public Defender and Director of Training and Legislative Liaison, Office of the Public Defender, Providence, Rhode Island, was awarded NACDL’s first Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award on Aug. 5 at NACDL’s 53rd Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado. This award honors individuals or groups whose exceptional efforts have led toward progressive reform of a state criminal justice system.
Ohio Attorney William R. Gallagher Receives Criminal Defense Bar's Top Honor - Washington, DC (Aug. 11, 2011) – Cincinnati, Ohio, attorney William R. Gallagher was awarded the 31st annual Robert C. Heeney Memorial Award, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ most prestigious honor, on Aug. 6 at its 53rd Annual Meeting in Denver, Colo. The award is given annually to the one criminal defense lawyer who best exemplifies the goals and values of the Association and the legal profession.
Denver Attorney Lisa Monet Wayne Installed as President of National Assn. of Criminal Defense Lawyers - Washington, DC (Aug. 10, 2011) – Lisa Monet Wayne of Denver, Colo., was sworn in as President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at the Association’s 53rd Annual Meeting in Denver, Colo., on Aug. 6. This is Wayne’s sixth officer position on NACDL’s Executive Committee, having previously served as the Association’s President-Elect (2010-11), First Vice President (2009-10), Second Vice President (2008-09), Treasurer (2007-08), and Secretary (2006-07).
2011-12 Officers and Newly Elected Board of Directors Members Sworn in at Annual Meeting - Washington, DC (Aug. 8, 2011) -- NACDL elected and swore in its new Officers and Directors at its Annual Board and Membership Meeting in Denver, Colorado, on Aug. 6, 2011.
Federal Judge Rules Florida's Drug Laws Unconstitutional - Washington DC (July 27, 2011) – A federal judge in Orlando has declared Florida’s strict-liability controlled substances act unconstitutional on the ground that the law could convict an innocent person of drug distribution who unknowingly possessed, transported or delivered a controlled substance.
The ‘Clean Up Government Act’ What Could Be Wrong with That? - Washington, DC (July 25, 2011) – “It is difficult to stand up and publicly announce … being opposed to something that has been named the ‘Clean Up Government Act,’” says Timothy P. O’Toole, a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). O’Toole will testify before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security tomorrow.
New Report: Florida's Broken Misdemeanor Court System – and How to Fix It -- Washington, DC (July 21, 2011) – Nearly a half million people, or approximately three percent of Florida’s adults, pass through the state’s misdemeanor courts each year. Most are found guilty. The average court appearance lasts as little as three minutes.
Stetson University and National Criminal Defense Bar Launch White Collar Criminal Defense College - Washington, DC (July 19, 2011) – Stetson University College of Law and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) are launching the NACDL White Collar Criminal Defense College at Stetson, the first program of its kind.
Legislation Would Enforce Government's Duty To Disclose Favorable Information to Accused - Washington, DC (July 7, 2011) – Many recent cases have exposed the fact that federal prosecutors, whether through negligence or by design, all too often fail to abide by their constitutional duty to disclose information favorable to the defendant.
Criminal Defense Bar Applauds Retroactive Federal Crack Cocaine Sentencing Guideline - Washington, DC (June 30, 2011) – When the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 was signed into law last year, something sad happened. Defendants who were arrested for possession or distribution of cocaine base, or crack, the day the law went into effect no longer faced the 100-to-1 sentencing disparity and draconian mandatory minimum sentences of the 1986 law for possession of as little as 5 grams of crack, which was treated as severely as 500 grams, or over a pound, of powder cocaine.
U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Warrantless GPS Surveillance Case -- Washington, DC (June 27, 2011) – In a much anticipated ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to hear the Obama administration’s appeal of a federal court decision that the government’s use of a GPS tracking device on a defendant’s vehicle for a month was a search that required a warrant.
U.S. Supreme Court Reinforces Vitality of the Sixth Amendment's Confrontation Clause - Washington, DC (June 23, 2011) – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that “The Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause confers upon the accused ‘[i]n all criminal prosecutions, . . . the right . . . to be confronted with the witnesses against him.’”
Due Process May Require Appointment of Counsel in Civil Contempt Cases -- Washington, DC (June 20, 2011) – Today the Supreme Court reaffirmed that freedom “from bodily restraint,” lies “at the core of the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause.” In Turner v. Rogers, No. 10-10, a 5-4 majority held that the State of South Carolina violated a non-custodial parent’s right to due process of law by sentencing him to a year in jail without a reliable procedure for determining whether he had the ability to pay back child support or providing him with counsel to help him prove his case.
Age Does Matter in Juvenile Interrogations - Washington, DC (June 16, 2011) – More than two decades of exonerations have shown that pressure from police too often results in people confessing to crimes they have never committed. There is no reason to believe that children and adolescents would be immune to such pressures; common sense tells us the opposite is true.
Criminal Defense Bar Urges Congress to Reform Foreign Corrupt Practices Act - Washington, DC (June 14, 2011) – There was little disagreement at a Congressional hearing today that there has been a significant ramp up in recent years of prosecutions and fines under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA), a law whose original purpose was to prohibit American people and corporations from bribing foreign officials in exchange for business opportunities.
Civil Liberties Groups, Defenders and Law Professors Seek to Require Warrant for Police GPS Surveillance - Washington, DC (June 9, 2011) – A diverse group of civil liberties organizations, defenders and law professors this week weighed in on the question of whether law enforcement may unilaterally conduct unregulated surveillance of personal vehicles by secretly attaching global positioning satellite (GPS) transmitters.
Criminal Defense Bar Urges Sentencing Commission to Make Reduced Crack Cocaine Guideline Retroactive - Washington, DC (June 1, 2011) – Last summer, the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 was signed into law. While the legislation failed to eliminate the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine completely, it did reduce that disparity to roughly 18:1.
Defense Bar Opposes Guantanamo Death Penalty Proceedings - Washington, DC (May 31, 2011) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) opposes military commissions and maintains that the federal courts have proven to be an unparalleled instrument for trying terrorism cases. That Defense Department prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty in such a flawed system is particularly egregious and possibly constitutes a new low in the recent history of American jurisprudence.
The Foundation for Criminal Justice and NACDL Board Meet and Confer Awards in Washington, D.C. - The Foundation for Criminal Justice and NACDL Board Meet and Confer Awards in Washington, D.C. -- Washington, DC (May 25, 2011) - Last week, both the Foundation for Criminal Justice (FCJ) and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) held meetings in Washington, D.C. The first event, on May 18, was a special screening and panel discussing the film The Dhamma Brothers at the Open Society Foundation Washington Office, an event co-hosted by NACDL and the Open Society Foundation.
Abolishing the Civil Forfeiture Racket: National Legal Groups Join Forces to End Civil Forfeiture - Washington, DC (May 24, 2011) --Today, two leading organizations have come together to advocate for reforms to states’ asset forfeiture laws—the power of police to seize property on mere suspicion of a crime and, in most states, keep some or all of the proceeds for their own use.
John Gross Named NACDL Indigent Defense Counsel - Washington, DC (April 26, 2011) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is pleased to announce that attorney John P. Gross of Syracuse, N.Y., has joined the association’s national office as Indigent Defense Counsel.
National Criminal Defense Bar Condemns Arrest of Human Rights Lawyer in Bahrain - Washingtion, DC (April 20, 2011) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) strongly condemns the late-night arrest of prominent human rights and criminal defense lawyer Mohammed al-Tajer on April 15, as reported by Human Rights Watch this week. Masked men are also said to have seized Mr. al-Tajer’s personal computers, mobile phones and documents.
At Guantanamo, Detainees Are Presumed Guilty - Washington, DC (April 4, 2011) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) agrees with Attorney General Eric Holder’s assessment that the federal courts have proven to be an unparalleled instrument for trying terrorism cases.
Diverse Coalition Releases ‘Criminal Law Checklist for Federal Legislators' at Capitol Hill Briefing - WASHINGTON, DC (March 24, 2011) – As part of an ongoing, multi-front effort to rein in the burgeoning problem of overcriminalization, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), joined by the Heritage Foundation and the Texas Public Policy Foundation, today held a briefing on Capitol Hill for media and congressional staffers focused on overcriminalization in the Dodd-Frank Act.
Defense Lawyers Praise Governor For Ending Illinois' Death Penalty - Washington, DC (March 9, 2011) – In response to today’s historic event in Illinois ending the death penalty for state crimes, the President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), Jim E. Lavine, issued the following statement of thanks to Gov. Patrick Quinn:
White House to Resume Military Commissions; Indefinite Detention Also Approved - Washington, DC (March 7, 2011) – This afternoon President Obama issued an Executive Order lifting the ban on military commission prosecutions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and institutionalizing the practice of indefinite detention for detainees the administration prefers not to prosecute at all, many of whom were subject to so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” and prolonged secret CIA detention.
Honoring the 250th Anniversary of Paxton's Case - Washington, DC (Feb. 23, 2011) – Tomorrow is the 250th anniversary of James Otis's Writs of Assistance argument in Paxton's Case, which challenged the Redcoats’ abhorrent use of general warrants unsupported by probable cause, neither describing the places to be searched nor the persons or things to be seized.
Groups Call for Release of Secret Government Guidance on Miranda Exception -- Washington, DC (Feb. 22, 2011) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law today submitted an expedited request to the Department of Justice under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) seeking all “legal memoranda, procedures, policies, directives, guidelines, and other guidance[,]” since Dec. 25, 2009, “regarding use of the ‘public safety exception’ to Miranda v. Arizona...
Defense Lawyers Urge Ill. Gov. Quinn to Sign Death Penalty Bill - Washington, DC (Feb. 22, 2011) – The Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), reiterating and reinforcing its vigorous opposition to the infliction of death as punishment for crime, unanimously passed a resolution urging Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn to sign the legislation sent to him last month which would abolish the death penalty in the state. The bill has been on Quinn’s desk since passing the state senate Jan. 11.
New Report Offers Blueprint to Repair America's Broken Criminal Justice System Legislation Proposed This Week Embraces Major Recommendation - Washington, DC (February 10, 2011) – Today, a diverse coalition of the nation’s leading criminal justice reform organizations released Smart on Crime: Recommendations for the Administration and Congress among the most comprehensive reports ever published to address the problems confronting America’s criminal justice system.
Florida's Strict Liability Felony Drug Laws Under Attack -- Washington, DC (January 31, 2011) – A diverse group of organizations and law professors concerned about the elimination of intent requirements in criminal statutes are urging a federal court to declare Florida’s law prohibiting possession, sale or delivery of controlled substances unconstitutional.
Forensic Science Reform Is Long Overdue - Washington, DC (Jan. 25, 2011) – As more than a decade of crime lab scandals have shown, forensic evidence presented in court is, at times, often bogus – based on speculative research, inadequate quality control, and subjective interpretations. Ensuring the scientific integrity of forensic evidence is essential to preventing wrongful convictions and exonerating the innocent.
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