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News Releases ~ 2010

Overcriminalization Media Call -- Washington, DC (December 15, 2010) – On Thursday, December 16, 2010, at 10:00 AM EST, the Federalist Society will host a media call on the proposed House rules change for Automatic Sequential Referral. The change would require any bill that proposes or modifies a criminal penalty to be referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary before any floor consideration. The call will feature former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III and Norman L. Reimer, Executive Director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. More 

Fourth Amendment Protects E-Mail From Warrantless Government Surveillance, Federal Court Rules -- Washington, DC (December 15, 2010) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers praised the federal appeals court decision protecting email privacy. For the first time, a federal court has ruled that law enforcement must obtain a search warrant before it can search and seize a subscriber's email that is stored on the computers of his Internet service provider (ISP). Americans expect and deserve protection from government agents who would snoop into their private communications without probable cause and a court order. More 

Federal Courts Can Handle Terrorism Trials -- Washington, DC (November 17, 2010) – Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani was convicted today in a federal district court for his role the 1998 bombing of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The conviction carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a minimum of 20 years. The jury acquitted Mr. Ghailani of more serious charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder, for which there was scant evidence. More 

Alex Bunin Named Houston's First Chief Public Defender  -- Washington, DC (November 9, 2010) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) salutes Harris County officials on the appointment of Alex Bunin to serve as the first Chief Public Defender of Harris County, TX. Harris County includes the City of Houston and has a population of nearly 4 million people. More 

NACDL's 9th Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference -- Washington, DC (October 5, 2010) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), in conjunction with the American University Washington College of Law and the Institute for Policy Studies' Social Action and Leadership School for Activists (SALSA), presents the 9th Annual State Criminal Justice Network (SCJN) Conference entitled Inform, Influence & Impact: Effective Criminal Justice Reform. The conference takes place at the American University Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C., from October 7 – 8, 2010, and will consist of a variety of panels covering topics including judicial independence, drug law reform, drug courts, and juvenile justice. Featured speakers include Oklahoma State Senator Constance Johnson; Tonier Cain, featured in the documentary "Heeling Neen" and Jim Vance, News Anchor of DC News4 will also deliver a keynote luncheon address. More 

Diverse Coalition Urges Congress to Rein in Overcriminalization -- Washington, DC (September 29, 2010) – NACDL played a key role in an ideologically diverse coalition of organizations that worked together to bring about yesterday's hearing on "Reining in Overcriminalization: Assessing the Problems, Proposing Solutions" before the U.S. House of Representatives Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security Subcommittee (Robert C. "Bobby" Scott, D-Va., Chairman). The coalition of organizations supporting the need for Congressional hearings on overcriminalization includes the American Bar Association (ABA), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Constitution Project, Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), Heritage Foundation, Manhattan Institute, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), and National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). More 

Philadelphia, Pa. Attorney Theodore Simon Elected Treasurer of Nation's Top Criminal Defense Organization  -- Washington, DC (September 7, 2010) – Philadelphia, Pa., attorney Theodore Simon was sworn in as Treasurer of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at its 52nd Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada., in August. Simon is an attorney in private practice in Philadelphia, Pa., where he has based a local, national and international practice for the last 36 years. He has obtained reversals in the U.S. Supreme Court and in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. More 

Criminal Defense Lawyers and ACLU File Challenge to Suspicionless Border Searches and Seizures of Laptops -- Washington, DC (September 7, 2010) – Do you want the federal government to know all the details of your most personal affairs? Your internet browser history? Your confidential family matters? Your medical issues? Your divorce? Your workplace or auto accident? Your strategic business plans? Your tax analysis? Your will? The fact that you have consulted with a criminal defense lawyer? More 

Rock Hill, S.C., Attorney Christopher Wellborn Installed on Board of Directors of National Criminal Defense Bar Assn.Rock Hill, S.C., Attorney Christopher Wellborn Installed on Board of Directors of National Criminal Defense Bar Assn. -- Washington, DC (August 30, 2010) – Rock Hill, S.C., attorney Christopher Wellborn was installed on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at the Association's 52nd Annual Meeting in Toronto, Ont., this month. Wellborn was one of the two designees of NACDL's Council of Affiliates sworn in this year to serve on NACDL's Board of Directors. He has been an NACDL member since 1994. More 

Washington, DC, Attorney Barry J. Pollack Installed as Parliamentarian of National Assn. of Criminal Defense Lawyers -- Washington, DC (August 23, 2010) – Barry J. Pollack of Washington, DC, was sworn in as Parliamentarian of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at the Association's 52nd Annual Meeting in Toronto, Ont., on Aug. 14. Mr. Pollack had previously served NACDL on its Board of Directors, among other capacities, including as a chair of the White Collar Crime Committee and the Department of Justice Dialogue Committee. More 

Denver Attorney Lisa Monet Wayne Installed as President-Elect of National Assn. of Criminal Defense Lawyers -- Washington, DC (August 18, 2010) – Lisa Monet Wayne of Denver, Colo., was sworn in as President-Elect of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at the Association's 52nd Annual Meeting in Toronto, Ont., on Aug. 14. This is Wayne's fifth officer position on NACDL's Executive Committee, having previously served as the Association's First Vice President (2009-10), Second Vice President (2008-09), Treasurer (2007-08), and Secretary (2006-07). More 

Professor Ellen S. Podgor Receives Criminal Defense Bar's Top Honor -- Washington, DC (August 18, 2010) – Stetson Law Professor Ellen S. Podgor was awarded the 30th annual Robert C. Heeney Memorial Award, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers' most prestigious honor, Aug. 14 at its 52nd Annual Meeting in Toronto, Ont. This award is given annually to the one criminal defense lawyer who best exemplifies the goals and values of the Association and the legal profession. More 

Houston Attorney Jim E. Lavine Installed as President of the National Criminal Defense Bar -- Washington, DC (August 17, 2010) – Houston attorney Jim E. Lavine was sworn in as President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at the association's 52nd Annual Meeting in Toronto, Ont., on Aug. 14. More 

Members Sworn in at Annual Meeting -- Washington, DC (August 16, 2010) – NACDL elected and swore in its new Officers and Board of Directors members at its annual conference in Toronto, Canada, on Aug. 14, 2010. Co-Chair of The Champion Advisory Board and Professor Ellen S. Podgor was awarded the 30th annual Robert C. Heeney Memorial Award, NACDL's most prestigious honor. She is the LeRoy Highbaugh Sr. Research Chair and Professor of Law at Stetson University College of Law. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Beverley McLachlin was awarded the Judicial Recognition Award. And San Antonio, Tex., attorneys Leslie Sara Hyman and Meagan M. Gillette were awarded Champion of Justice Awards. More 

U.S. Criminal Lawyers Warn Against Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Schemes -- Washington, DC (August 16, 2010) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) urged the Government of Canada to abandon bipartisan efforts to establish mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses at its annual meeting in Toronto, Ontario, Saturday. The association's Board of Directors unanimously passed a resolution reiterating its long-held position that mandatory sentencing schemes waste lives, families and scarce public resources, and deprive the judicial branch of its inherent authority to fashion appropriate sentences that fit the offender and the offense. More 

Thomson Reuters and NACDL Announce Co-Publishing Agreement -- Washington, DC (August 16, 2010) – Thomson Reuters and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) announced a co-publishing agreement today to develop and market legal materials designed for criminal defense lawyers. The new imprint is tentatively titled NACDL Press. More 

Government Abuses Computer Crime Law to Boost Criminal Charges -- Washington, DC (August 6, 2010) – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers asked a federal appeals court Thursday to block the government's attempt to wrongly expand federal computer crime law, turning misdemeanor charges into felonies. More 

Reducing the Crack and Powder Cocaine Sentencing Disparity Should Also Reduce Racial Disparities in Sentences and Prisons -- Washington, DC (July 28, 2010) – The House of Representatives today passed the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, adopted in the Senate earlier this year by unanimous consent. Currently, Federal drug sentences for possession and sale are based on the weight of the controlled substance. And for over two decades, possession of five grams of cocaine base (crack cocaine), without intent to distribute, has triggered the same mandatory five-year sentence as distribution of 500 grams of powder cocaine. This legislation eliminates that mandatory minimum. Under current law, a powder cocaine defendant must possess or sell 100 times the amount of cocaine to receive the same sentence as a crack cocaine defendant. More 

Death Penalty-Defying Decisions -- Washington, DC (July 2, 2010) – Death penalty reform in the United States seems to take one step back and two steps forward. Sadly, June 18 saw the barbaric execution of Ronnie Lee Gardner by a Utah firing squad. That same week, however, Troy Anthony Davis finally got an evidentiary hearing in federal court that he hopes will finally establish his innocence after 20 years on Georgia's death row. And the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled June 30 that Georgia's law requiring mentally retarded death penalty defendants prove their disability beyond a reasonable doubt violates the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The struggle continues. More 

U.S. Criminal Defense Bar Critical of Overcriminalization by Congress in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform & Consumer Protection Act -- Washington, DC (June 28, 2010) – In a careful review of the pending financial regulation reform legislation, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) has identified dozens of new and troubling federal criminal offenses. These new offenses, if enacted into law, will further explode the federal criminal code, which already contains an estimated 4,450 criminal offenses. More 

Supreme Court Rejects Expansive Interpretation of 'Honest Services' Fraud Statute -- Washington, DC (June 24, 2010) – In Skilling v. United States, the Supreme Court effectively vacated Mr. Skilling's conviction and remanded because the indictment relied, in part, on what the Court called "an improper construction of the 'honest services' component of the federal ban on mail [and wire] fraud." The Supreme Court held that the "honest services" fraud statute, "properly confined," criminalizes only schemes to defraud that involve bribes or kickbacks. So limited, the Court found that the law passes constitutional muster, though its application must stick to "core cases" involving dishonest personal gain of some kind. Agreeing with NACDL's position, however, Associate Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy dissented from that portion of the honest services cases decided today, as they would have found that the statute is simply unconstitutionally vague. More 

Minor Drug Offenses Are Not Deportable 'Felonies' Statement of NACDL President Cynthia Hujar Orr -- Washington, DC (June 14, 2010) – A second minor drug possession offense does not constitute automatic grounds for deportation of a lawful legal resident, the U.S. Supreme Court decided unanimously today, reversing the decision of a federal appeals court. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) wholeheartedly supports this rational and humane decision. More 

U.S. Criminal Defense Bar Challenges Rwandan Pres. Kagame: End the Campaign of Intimidation against Defense Lawyers -- Washington, DC (June 10, 2010) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) condemns the unrelenting intimidation of American criminal defense lawyers in Rwanda and reiterates its call for the prompt release of Prof. Peter Erlinder together with an immediate end to the Rwandan government's interference with the criminal defense function. NACDL stands with the 30 defense lawyers practicing before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) who together, in a statement to the court and the UN Security Council, said they fear for their own safety and have demanded Erlinder's immediate release. More 

National Criminal Defense Bar Condemns Arrest of U.S. Law Professor in Rwanda -- Washington, DC (May 29, 2010) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) strongly condemns the arrest of American law professor Peter Erlinder in Kingali, Rwanda, yesterday. NACDL urges the Rwandan government and the U.S. Department of State to quickly resolve this mistake and free Prof. Erlinder. More 

Defense Bar Lauds Supreme Court for Abolishing 'Life Without Parole' for Children and Teens -- Washington, DC (May 17, 2010) – The Constitution prohibits imposition of a sentence of life without parole on a juvenile offender who did not commit a homicide, the U.S. Supreme Court decided today. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) joined with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., and the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice as amici curiae urging the Court to overturn the sentences of Florida inmates Terrance Jamar Graham and Joe Harris Sullivan, both of whom committed their crimes before their 18th birthdays. The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishments such as sentences that are grossly disproportionate to the defendant's crime, or imposition of the death penalty on juveniles and mentally retarded defendants. More 

Diverse Coalition Urges Attorney General Holder to Reconsider His Call to Weaken Miranda Rights -- Washington, DC (May 17, 2010) – A broad coalition of 35 organizations, including many civil liberties and human rights groups, sent a letter today to Attorney General Eric Holder urging reconsideration of his call to weaken Miranda rights through the codification and expansion of the "public safety exception." More 

New York's High Court Issues Landmark Right to Counsel Ruling -- Washington, DC (May 6, 2010) – The New York Court of Appeals ruled today in the case of Hurrell-Harring, et al. v. New York that indigent defendants denied their constitutional right to counsel do not have to be first convicted before seeking to vindicate that right. Until now, indigent defendants have been prevented from seeking redress of the denial of their right to counsel, which attaches at arraignment, unless and until they are convicted. The Court was clear, "Wrongful convictions … are not the only injustices that command our present concern…. The absence of representation at critical stages is capable of causing grave and irreparable injury to persons who will not be convicted." Addressing the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark 1963 decision guaranteeing the right to counsel for all, the Court announced that "Gideon's guarantee to the assistance of counsel does not turn upon a defendant's guilt or innocence, and neither can the availability of a remedy for its denial." More 

Congress Is Eroding Criminal Intent: NACDL and Heritage Release Groundbreaking Report and Recommendations on Capitol Hill -- Washington, DC (May 5, 2010) – In a joint press conference this morning on Capitol Hill commemorating Law Day 2010, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Crime Subcommittee, respectively, sponsored the release of the groundbreaking, non-partisan report prepared by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Heritage Foundation, Without Intent: How Congress Is Eroding the Criminal Intent Requirement in Federal Law. In addition, NACDL Executive Director Norman Reimer and Former Attorney General Edwin Meese also spoke. More 

Problem-Solving Courts Symposium: The Pros and Cons of Treatment in the Criminal Justice System -- New York, NY (April 19, 2010) – On Tuesday, April 20 from 6:00-9:00 PM, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), New York County Lawyers' Association Criminal Justice Section (NYCLA) and the New York State Bar Association's Criminal Justice Section are co- sponsoring "Problem-Solving Courts Symposium: The Pros and Cons of Treatment in the Criminal Justice System," at the NYCLA Home of Law, 14 Vesey Street, New York, NY 10007. Panelists will debate the various functions of problem-solving courts, including access, standards and whether those most in need of treatment are being served. The discussion will focus on how to effectively find solutions to some of society's concerns while balancing individual constitutional rights. More 

Release Draft Commission Rules For Public Comment, Experts Say -- Washington, DC (April 7, 2010) – This week, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers joined a group including eight other organizations and prominent scholars calling for more transparency and a period for public comment regarding the release of the 2010 Manual for Military Commissions by the Department of Defense. More 

Supreme Court Upholds Integrity of Criminal Justice System for Immigrants -- Washington, DC (March 31, 2010) – The Supreme Court today issued a key decision in Padilla v. Kentucky, holding that defense lawyers must give correct advice to clients about the immigration consequences of pleading guilty. Immigrant rights groups and criminal justice advocates alike praised the Court's holding. More 

NACDL President Cynthia Hujar Orr Testifies Before U.S. Sentencing Commission On Proposed Amendments to the Sentencing Guidelines -- Washington, DC (March 17, 2010) – NACDL President Cynthia Hujar Orr testified Wednesday, March 17, before the U.S. Sentencing Commission on various proposed amendments to the sentencing guidelines. Orr's statement and testimony on behalf of NACDL featured common sense observations and suggestions based on NACDL's unique and extensive expertise and experience. Topics covered include the nature and implementation of amendments concerning offender characteristics relevant to downward departure determinations, alternatives to incarceration, factors considered in the calculation of a person's criminal history score, as well as organizational guidelines regarding compliance and ethics programs, various conditions of organizational probation, and mitigation credit. More 

Don't Let Politics Weaken the Rule of Law Statement of NACDL President Cynthia Hujar Orr -- Washington, DC (March 16, 2010) – I have been following the McCarthy-style attack campaign being waged against the Justice Department lawyers who formerly provided legal assistance to Guantanamo detainees and military commission defendants. That is why I was so pleased to see lawyers from across the country and across the political spectrum defending the constitutional role of legal counsel in justice system. As President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the world's largest criminal defense bar association, I want to thank all of them for standing up to persons who would tear our country apart and weaken the rule of law for the sake of scoring a few political points. More 

Report: Principles and Recommendations for Strengthening Forensic Science in the Courtroom -- Washington, DC (March 5, 2010) – Forensic science evidence presented in court is often based on speculative research, subjective interpretations and inadequate quality control procedures, according to a report just released by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). Police need to be taken out of the laboratory, and the "crime labs" need to be taken out of the police station, with the goal of ensuring the scientific integrity of forensic science evidence. Neutrality and objectivity are as essential to preventing wrongful convictions and exonerating the innocent as they are to solving crimes and convicting the guilty. More 

Criminal Defense Bar Secures Sweeping Reversal in Illinois Eyewitness Identification Litigation Concerning Flawed Lineups Linked to More than 50 Wrongful Convictions  -- Washington, DC (March 3, 2010) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) has been fighting in the Illinois courts since Feb. 2007 to secure access to data and other materials related to the Chicago Police Department's controversial, taxpayer-funded report on lineups and eyewitness procedures. The report sets forth highly controversial, and widely criticized conclusions that current eyewitness procedures—those that use traditional line ups where all suspects stand in a room together—are more effective than new procedures used in other American cities to reduce errors that can lead to wrongful convictions. Although academic research has consistently found that sequential, double-blind identification procedures substantially reduce false identifications, the report claimed that in "real life" lineups, the traditional method was more reliable. The Chicago, Evanston and Joliet police departments participated in the study with the Illinois State Police. More 

Criminal Defense Bar Sounds Alarm Concerning Uninformed, 'Radical' Changes to New York City's Indigent Defense System -- Washington, DC - (March 1, 2010) – The Mayor's Office of the Criminal Justice Coordinator for the City of New York issued a request for proposals in February, with a short March 15, 2010, deadline, that contemplates a sudden and severe change abolishing the role of appointed assigned counsel in the City's indigent defense delivery system. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), through its indigent defense project, is concerned that without adequate study, consultation and public hearings, such a significant disruption in the manner by which indigent defense counsel is provided in the City of New York may contribute to, rather than ameliorate, a system already at the breaking point. More 

Sen. Rodney Ellis to Be Honored -- Washington, DC - (February 23, 2010) – Sen. Rodney Ellis (Houston) will be honored with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers' prestigious Champion of Justice Legislative Award, the association's national office announced today. The award will be presented to Sen. Ellis in Austin, TX, at the Texas Indigent Defense Summit at the Capitol on Wednesday. More 

Bar Groups, Law Centers and Faculty Support Right of Poor Persons Accused of Crime to Challenge New York State's Broken Indigent Defense System  -- Washington, DC - (February 4, 2010) – A diverse group of bar associations representing 100,000 lawyers, and law centers and dozens of law professors from all of New York State's 15 law schools is urging courts to address New York's broken system for providing legal representation to poor defendants in criminal cases. The group filed a joint amicus curiae, or "friend of the court," brief in support of plaintiffs in a case who claim that legal services for the poor are constitutionally inadequate to ensure equal justice under law. More 

Statement of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Regarding the Judge Sharon Keller Disciplinary Inquiry -- San Antonio, TX- (January 20, 2010) – On September 25, 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would hear a challenge to the constitutionality of lethal injection in Baze v. Rees, prompting death penalty lawyers all over the country to file for stays of execution pending the high court's decision in that case. Advised by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals general counsel that the Texas Defender Service would be filing for a stay in the imminent execution of Michael Richard sometime after the court's official closing time of 5:00 p.m., Chief Judge Sharon Keller ordered that the clerk's office be closed at 5:00 and neglected to refer the case to any of the appeals judges in the courthouse, who could have issued an emergency stay. Mr. Richard was executed that evening. As a result, a number of persons and organizations, including the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, filed complaints against Judge Keller with the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct, which appointed a Special Master to investigate the matter and make findings of fact. More 

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