News Release ~ 2002-1

''Prison fish'' to address national criminal defense bar; Ephraim Margolin to receive lifetime award

Top defenders to gather in San Francisco 

San Francisco --The nation''s largest criminal defense lawyers'' organization begins its annual meeting here today. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers will hear from the author of a prison memoir and honor a past president at its board of directors meeting to close the conference on Saturday.

Jimmy Lerner, author of "You Got Nothing Coming: Notes From a Prison Fish," will address the board meeting, which begins at 9:30 a.m Saturday at the Argent Hotel in San Francisco. Lerner, a middle-aged family man and former marketing executive who once occupied a cubicle next to the cartoonist who later created "Dilbert," penned the book while serving a 2-to-12-year sentence in a Nevada prison for manslaughter. In the words of the Washington Post, the book "forthrightly pulls back the curtain on a brutal system of punitive penal warehousing."

Also at Saturday''s board meeting, NACDL will honor San Franciscan Ephraim Margolin, who served as NACDL''s president from 1988-89, with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Between now and Saturday, the approximately 400 defense attorneys from around the country will attend a seminar entitled "Warriors for the Defense: New Strategies for Difficult Times," which will feature presentations on the Andrea Yates case, dishonest government crime lab scientists, and eyewitness misidentification, among others.

A Friday luncheon will feature an address by internationally known defense lawyer Bobby Lee Cook of Summerville, Georgia, and an award to Professor James Ellis, of the University of New Mexico, who argued the U.S. Supreme Court case which outlawed execution of the mentally retarded.

Saturday''s board meeting will also feature the inauguration of Lawrence Goldman of New York City as the 44th president of NACDL. Thursday night, San Francisco and New York lawyers will sponsor a reception in honor of Goldman and Margolin at the Delancey Street Foundation.

Media are welcome at all sessions and events. Please contact Daniel Dodson (202)486-5513 (cell). For more information, vist NACDL''s Web site at, under CLE & Meetings. 

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's approximately 9,000 direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.

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