Distinguished N.Y. Attorney Norman Reimer Named NACDL Executive Director
Washington, DC (November 9, 2011) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers today announced its appointment of Norman L. Reimer, of New York City, as the association’s Executive Director. Reimer is a partner in Gould Reimer Walsh Goffin Cohn LLP, a six member firm that specializes in criminal defense, immigration and civil rights litigation. As a criminal defense lawyer throughout his career, with expertise in trial and appellate advocacy, in both state and federal jurisdictions, Reimer is a recognized leader of the organized bar, and a strong advocate of legal system reforms. He is also a past president of the New York County Lawyers Association.
Mr. Reimer replaces Ralph Grunewald, who served the association for over five and one-half years. During that time, the association grew to nearly 13,000 members and an annual budget of over $4 million.
“This is a singular opportunity to help guide the work of a national organization dedicated to the pursuit of justice and due process for all,” Mr. Reimer said in a statement. “There is no higher calling that to champion liberty and to pursue a rational and humane criminal justice policy for America. For nearly half a century, the NACDL has zealously pursued this mission.”
NACDL is the preeminent organization in the United States advancing the mission of the nation’s criminal defense lawyers to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL’s 13,000 direct members — and 90 state and local affiliate organizations with another 35,000 members — include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, active-duty military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness within America’s criminal justice system.
As a past president of the New York County Lawyers’ Association, (“NYCLA”), one of the nation’s largest and most prestigious metropolitan bar associations, Mr. Reimer played a pivotal role in undertaking litigation against the State and City of New York to uphold the right of a bar association to sue on behalf of indigent litigants. The NYCLA lawsuit resulted in a judicial decision declaring New York’s under-funding of indigent defense services unconstitutional. (NYCLA v. New York, 294 A.D.2d 69 (1st Dept. 2002); NYCLA v. New York, 196 Misc. 2d 761 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2003). In recognition of this effort the New York County Lawyers’ Association received the ABA’s Harrison Tweed Award in 2003.
Other projects in which Mr. Reimer has played a leading role have included a successful effort to persuade the American Bar Association to adopt a policy calling for the mandatory recording of all custodial interrogations and a successful effort to persuade the New York State Bar Association to support a moratorium on death penalty prosecutions. Mr. Reimer also led NYCLA’s efforts in support of the independence of the judiciary, expanding access to justice and judicial selection reform. During his two-year tenure as President, Mr. Reimer guided the Association to its first operating surplus in more than a decade and launched a Centennial Capital Campaign. Key initiatives under his leadership included major conferences and task forces to study and reform the Housing, Criminal and Family Courts, with special emphasis on efforts to ameliorate the collateral consequences of criminal convictions and to secure a right to counsel for indigent litigants facing eviction proceedings. Mr. Reimer also chaired NYCLA’s Task Force on the Future of the Association (2002-2004), co-chaired the Criminal Justice Section (1994-1997) and the Task Force on Indigent Defense (1994-1997). Mr. Reimer is currently a co-chair, along with former Appellate Division Justice Betty Weinberg Ellerin, of NYCLA’s Task Force on Judicial Independence.
In addition to the leading role that Norman Reimer played at NYCLA, he has served as a delegate to both the American Bar Association House of Delegates and the New York State Bar Association House of Delegates. Mr. Reimer formerly served as Chair of the Central Screening Committee of the Assigned Counsel Plan, Appellate Division, First Department, overseeing the qualification of several hundred attorneys who are certified to represent indigent criminal defendants by court assignment in the New York State courts. In addition, Mr. Reimer serves on the federal Criminal Justice Panels for the Southern District of New York, where he is certified to represent criminal defendants in felony prosecutions, capital prosecution and habeas corpus proceedings. He is also certified by the New York State Capital Defender to handle death penalty prosecutions in the New York State courts.
Mr. Reimer’s notable appellate achievements include landmark decisions in search and seizure law (People v. Millan, 69 N.Y.2d 514 (1987); People v. Torres, 74 N.Y.2d 224 (1989); People v. Garrett and Angus, 256 A.D. 2d 588 (2d Dept. 1998), habeas corpus (Figueroa v. Portuoundo, 96 F. Supp. 2d 256 (S.D.N.Y. 1999) and Shiwlochan v. Portuondo, 345 F. Supp. 2d 242 (2004) and international extradition (In re Ribaudo, U.S. Dist. Court LEXIS 1456 (S.D.N.Y. 2004).
Norman Reimer serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law at New York Law School, where he has taught Trial Practice since 1990. He is a graduate of the New York University School of Law. Mr. Reimer is a recipient of the prestigious Champion of Indigent Defense Award, presented by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in 2003, and the Gideon Award presented by the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in 2002. In 2005, Mr. Reimer and the New York County Lawyers’ Association were honored by the New York City Council for their dedication to expanding access to justice to all persons without regard to economic status.
Statement of Norman L. Reimer:
“I am honored to have been selected and eager to work with NACDL’s magnificent volunteer leaders and the Association’s extraordinarily talented staff.
“This is a singular opportunity to help guide the work of a national organization dedicated to the pursuit of justice and due process for all. Especially at this time in our national history, the NACDL plays a vital role in safeguarding the values enshrined in our Bill of Rights. There is no higher calling that to champion liberty and to pursue a rational and humane criminal justice policy for America. For nearly half a century, the NACDL has zealously pursued this mission.
“Individual lawyers perform heroic service in advocating on behalf of their clients. Collective action through a bar association, however, channels the ingenuity and commitment of the bar into an irresistible synergistic force for reform. There is no greater honor or challenge than to serve that cause.”
- Norman L. Reimer