New criminal defense bar president decries policy of shooting down suspected drug planes
Another unwarranted response to an exaggerated threat
Washington, DC (August 21, 2003) -- E.E. "Bo" Edwards, new president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, today issued the following statement in response to recent reports that the United States will resume cooperation with South American governments in shooting down planes of suspected drug runners:
"Does our government honestly believe that it is acceptable to kill, or even take a substantial risk of killing, unidentified human beings, our citizens or not, just because they may be committing a non-capital crime? Evidently so.
"The Bush Administration speaks in terms of ''procedures to protect against loss of innocent life.'' But these mere suspects are innocent until proven guilty, and not subject to the death penalty even if convicted. This administration continues to find the poor and dark-skinned expendable based on almost any fear-based pretext. In this case, we can kill in the name of fighting illegal drugs, which kill 20,000 per year by generous estimates, while subsidizing tobacco, which kills 400,000 per year.
"Just as importantly, should we as citizens, and the media as our watchdogs, continue to let it go on without questioning it?"
Edwards, a criminal defense lawyer in Nashville, began his term as NACDL president August 2. He can be reached at (615)356-5037.