News Release ~ 2002-5

Disclosure of detainees is basic to justice process; DOJ''s response is unfair to judge

Judge''s ruling brings daylight to proceedings 

San Francisco, CA -- The incoming president of the nation''s largest criminal defense lawyers'' organization hailed the ruling of a federal judge calling for release of the names of terrorism detainees today, and criticized the Justice Department for insinuating that the judge was aiding the enemy in making the ruling.

Lawrence Goldman, who will be sworn in as the 44th president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers at the group''s annual meeting here tomorrow, said that if anything, Judge Gladys Kessler''s decision simply reiterated basic tenets of American justice.

"One of the things that separates democratic from totalitarian governments is that in a democracy, we do not detain persons secretly for indefinite periods," said Goldman, a criminal defense lawyer from New York City. "Secret proceedings are an anathema to a free country."

"The Justice Department''s claim that Judge Kessler is aiding terrorists by her decision is nothing more than a cheap shot," Goldman said. "Invoking the mantra of terrorism is no basis for evisceration of our basic rights."

"The judge''s balanced ruling was more than generous in carving out exceptions to meet their concerns."

The decision today was in the federal court for the District of Columbia. NACDL was one of more than 20 civil rights and criminal justice organizations bringing the lawsuit. 

Goldman can be reached at (917) 816-4635.

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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