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News Releases ~ 2005

When the Government Becomes a Lawbreaker -- Washington, DC (December 21, 2005) Contrary to the White House’s assertions, neither Congress nor the Supreme Court has ever explicitly given the Executive Branch a green light to conduct domestic electronic eavesdropping without a warrant in “national security” matters. The 2001 authorization to use force against the perpetrators of September 11 did not give the President any express or implied power to order the National Security Agency, a Defense Department signal intelligence agency, to eavesdrop on citizens and intercept their private telephone conversations and e-mail. Domestic clandestine surveillance is not a role for the military in a free society. It is contrary to established law, the Constitution, and our way of life. More 

Criminal Defense Lawyers Support Cameras in Court with Consent of Parties -- Washington, DC (November 9, 2005) – Prof. Barbara Bergman, President of the 13,000-member National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, surprised some members of the Senate Judiciary Committee today when she expressed the bar association’s general support for televising federal court proceedings in many criminal proceedings and in all Supreme Court arguments. But, she added, there is no general consensus in the criminal defense community on the overall desirability of cameras in courtrooms. The public’s right of access – through the electronic media – must always be weighed against the defendant’s constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial, she said. More 

Nordyke Hired as Katrina Disaster Relief Liaison -- Washington, DC (September 15, 2005) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is pleased to announce the appointment of Keith B. Nordyke, a defense lawyer in Baton Rouge, La., with outstanding contacts throughout Louisiana and the Gulf region, as our new Katrina Disaster Relief Liaison. NACDL hired Keith as a temporary full-time staff lawyer upon the recommendation of our state affiliate organization, the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Keith will work full-time for the next several weeks representing the interests of defense lawyers, their staffs, and families  throughout the affected areas as they struggle to rebuild their practices. More 

Lawyers Groups Organize for Katrina Relief -- Washington, DC (September 2, 2005) – National and state bar associations are rallying to provide hurricane relief to an estimated 5,000 displaced Gulf Coast lawyers and their families, coordinating offers of housing, office space, equipment, and support services to help re-establish their practices and contact with their clients, firms and relatives. Attorneys and their families may not be able to return to their offices or homes for weeks, if ever. Despite their own personal difficulties, attorneys remain legally and ethically bound to continue to represent their clients. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) therefore requests that you help the following organizations disseminate the following URLs and contact information. More 

U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott to Be Honored by Criminal Defense Lawyers in Portland Aug. 5 -- Washington, DC (August 4, 2005) Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA) will be the keynote speaker at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Annual Luncheon Aug. 5 where NACDL President Barry Scheck will present him with the association’s 2005 Champion of Justice Legislative Award. Congressman Scott is the Ranking Member on the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, a Member of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, and Co-Chair of the House Democratic Caucus’ Crime and Drug Task Force. The luncheon will commence at 12:15 p.m. at the Portland Hilton & Towers, 921 SW Sixth Ave., Portland, Ore. More 

Truth in Sentencing? The Gonzales Cases -- Washington, DC (July 7, 2005) – Speaking at the National Center for Victims of Crime in Washington, D.C. on June 21, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales sharply criticized federal sentencing practices since the Supreme Court handed down its opinion in United States v. Booker, 125 S. Ct. 738 (2005) last January.1 The Attorney General expressed concern that the now-advisory guidelines had resulted in a “drift toward lower sentences” resulting in the loss of a “critical law enforcement tool.” He said he would support legislation that would strictly limit judicial discretion to sentence below the guideline range, but allow judges free rein to sentence above it. More  

Denial of Counsel on Appeal Denies Poor Due Process of Law -- Washington, DC (June 23, 2005) The United States Supreme Court today held unconstitutional a Michigan law that greatly restricted the right to counsel on appeal for poor people who wish to challenge their sentence after pleading guilty. The decision in Halbert v. Michigan, No. 03-10198, is an important victory for proponents of a fair criminal justice system. More 

NACDL Urges Louisiana and Michigan to Follow Montana's Example and Pass Indigent Defense Reform -- Washington, DC (June 8, 2005) – Today, in Helena, Montana, legislators, activists, and litigators have gathered to celebrate the passage of legislative reform to overhaul the indigent defense system in that state. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers calls on Louisiana and Michigan to follow Montana’s lead and take the necessary steps to ensure that poor people charged with crimes receive the assistance of competent, appropriately-resourced lawyers. More  

Statement of Barbara E. Bergman on the Supreme Court’s 6-3 medical marijuana decision in Gonzales v. Raich, No. 03-1454 -- Washington, DC (June 6, 2005) – “If our Constitution means anything, it should mean that the 'war on drugs' cannot be made to be a war on the quality of life of chronically or terminally ill Americans. Sadly, the federal government embraces and promotes a constitutional regime that enables federal law enforcement to enforce policies which add to patients’ pain contrary to state laws and fundamental notions of federalism. Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause may be broad, but it should not exercised blindly or heartlessly to preempt the will of the citizens of the several states. To paraphrase Justice John Paul Stevens and the majority today, we sincerely hope that the voices of voters allied with proponents of compassionate marijuana policies may one day be heard in the halls of Congress as they are in the statehouses.” More  

Lawyers Criticize Secret Patriot Mark-up in Senate -- Washington, DC (May 18, 2005) – The Senate Intelligence Committee has announced that tomorrow’s scheduled mark-up of USA-PATRIOT Act amendments will be closed to the public and the media. More 

Chicago Tribune Writers Named ‘Champions of Justice’ -- Washington, DC (February 11, 2005) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers will present three investigative reporters for the Chicago Tribune with Champion of Justice Awards for Distinguished Journalism at the association’s Midwinter Meeting at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans on Saturday, February 12. The award recognizes outstanding reporting in print and electronic media advancing public awareness in criminal justice issues. More  

2005-2006 Executive Committee officers and newly elected Board of Directors members sworn in at Annual Meeting -- 2005-2006 Executive Committee officers and newly elected Board of Directors members sworn in at Annual Meeting. More  

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