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February 28, 2013; Vol. 12 No. 2

NACDL and The Heritage Foundation Team Up for Gideon Event -- "Gideon at 50: Fundamental Right, Ongoing Challenge"

This free event co-sponsored by NACDL and The Heritage Foundation will be held (and available via live webcast) on March 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm at the Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium. A panel of experts will reflect on the continuing challenges 50 years after the landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright. They include Steven D. Benjamin, President of NACDL; Jim Bethke, Executive Director of the Texas Indigent Defense Commission; and Rhoda Billings, Professor Emeritius at Wake Forest University of Law, and former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. The panel will be co-hosted by former Attorney General Edwin Meese III, Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy Emeritus at the Heritage Foundation, and Norman Reimer, Executive Director of NACDL.

For more information, click here. And to rsvp, click here.


NACDL Board Adopts Three DNA-Related Resolutions at Midwinter Meeting

NACDL’s Board passed three important DNA-related Resolutions last week at NACDL’s Midwinter Meeting. The FBI federal Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database, which contains over 10 million offenders and 1.3 million arrestees, is currently not accessible to the defense. In a board resolution, NACDL advocates that defense attorneys be given access to CODIS for purposes of preparing a defense or petition for post-conviction relief or executive clemency. NACDL also took a stance on familial DNA searching, resolving that NACDL opposes the use of familial DNA searching during criminal investigations. To the extent that these searches are nonetheless conducted, the Board proposed restrictions to the use of familial DNA searching during criminal investigations. The requirements set forward include the creation of an independent body to study the costs and benefits of familial DNA testing, reasonable limitations to prevent DNA dragnets, protocols to minimize intrusions on individual privacy interests, data collection requirements to facilitate cost-benefit analysis, and equal defense access and process for inter-jurisdictional conflict.

To read the board resolutions, click here.

NACDL Draft Domestic Drone Legislation

On February 23, NACDL’s Board of Directors approved NACDL’s Fourth Amendment Committee’s draft domestic unmanned aircraft (a.k.a. "drones") legislation. This legislation would prohibit unwarranted law enforcement use of unmanned aircraft except in very limited circumstances. The legislation will be used in NACDL’s advocacy work on law enforcement use of domestic drones and will serve as a template that is available to state and federal legislators.


Comprehensive Text on Collateral Consequences Released

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ NACDL Press and Thomson Reuters Westlaw announced last week the release of the second book of their joint publishing venture, Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions: Law, Policy and Practice by Margaret Colgate Love, Jenny Roberts, and Cecelia Klingele. This volume is a comprehensive resource for practicing civil and criminal lawyers, judges and policymakers on the legal restrictions and penalties that result from a criminal conviction over and above the court-imposed sentence.

To read more, click here. The text is available for purchase here. A link to a short video about the text featuring the authors is available here.


White Collar Policy

NACDL is working with a coalition of organizations, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology, to reform the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act (CFAA) at 18 U.S.C. 1030. In the wake of the tragic death of technology entrepreneur Aaron Swartz, a national spotlight is now on the CFAA and its deeply troubling criminal provisions. The coalition hopes to turn this tragedy into something positive by working with legislators to reform the CFAA. NACDL’s participation in the coalition and reform effort ensures that the criminal defense perspective is part of this discussion.


CISPA Reintroduced

On February 13, Congressmen Mike Rogers (R-MI) and C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) introduced the Cyber Information Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). This bill is virtually the same bill that was passed by the House of Representatives last year under a veto threat from the Obama administration due to serious privacy concerns related to the bill’s information sharing provisions. NACDL opposed last year’s CISPA bill due to serious Fourth Amendment and privacy concerns. NACDL will continue to track this legislation and promote our six principles for cybersecurity legislation to protect fundamental Fourth Amendment rights.

U.S. Supreme Court Decides Dog Sniff Case in Favor of the Dogs

In a disappointing decision, the United States Supreme Court today enshrined in law a dog’s wide latitude to determine Americans’ constitutional right to be free from unwarranted search and seizure. In siding with the dog in Florida v. Harris (No. 11-817), the Court misses the point. An alert by a “trained” or “certified” drug detection dog by itself should be insufficient to establish probable cause, as the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) argued in its joint amicus curiae brief to the Court in this case.

To read more, click here.


NACDL Supports Maryland Legislation to Repeal the Death Penalty

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) submitted testimony earlier this month to the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates in support of SB276/HB295, legislation to repeal the death penalty in Maryland. Hearings on the legislation took place on February 14, in both the state House and Senate.

To read more, click here.


DOJ White Paper on Extrajudicial Execution of U.S. Citizens Tortures Core American Constitutional Principles

Earlier this month, NBC News exclusively released a confidential Department of Justice document that purports to justify the extrajudicial execution of U.S. citizens by an Executive Branch acting as prosecutor, judge and jury and with no charges, hearing or opportunity to be heard for the accused. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is deeply disturbed by the contortion of the legal principles of warfare and self-defense reflected in this “White Paper.”

To read more, click here.


SCJN National Advocacy Calls on Developing Legislation

SCJN National Advocacy Calls on Developing Legislation will host two upcoming calls in February and March. The teleconferences generally feature an expert on an issue area and are designed to brief criminal defense lawyers and advocates around the country on a variety of criminal justice issues. The goal of these calls is to inform participants of any legislation or litigation pending that seeks progressive reform on the issue, and serve as a call to action for advocates interested in developing strategies for legislative reform or litigious efforts in their jurisdictions.

February 2013 

February's advocacy call on February 13, focused on legislation that passed around the country on medical and personal marijuana. To listen to the call, click here.

March 2013 

March’s advocacy call is scheduled for Wednesday, March 20, at 12:00 p.m. EST. The call will focus on domestic drones and feature a discussion of pending legislation across the country. It will look into how local jurisdictions are attempting to utilize drones to enhance public safety and how other jurisdictions are trying to limit their use as tools for the surveillance of citizens. A “Drones 101 Primer” will be provided prior to the call.

To RSVP, email scjn@nacdl.org.


New Training for Post-Conviction Lawyers - FREE for Approved Applicants

Register Today! NACDL's 4th Annual Post-Conviction Seminar, Evolving Science and Faulty Forensics: Legal Theories for Advancing Innocence Claims, will be held on April 18, 2013, at the Blake Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina.    

NACDL presents this exciting new program, in collaboration with the Innocence Network and supported by a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, specifically for lawyers who handle post-conviction innocence claims. This year’s program first focuses on the legal theories and strategies you need to successfully litigate innocence claims, including newly discovered evidence, ineffective assistance, due process, and Brady claims. Our expert faculty, which includes Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld from the Innocence Project, applies the theories to real case examples involving faulty forensic evidence in sessions on arson, microscopic hair comparison, shaken baby syndrome and bite marks. Then, for the first time, the program provides DNA training for post-conviction lawyers, with a focus on mixtures. This program is FREE for approved applicants and a limited number of need-based travel scholarships are available. For more information and a registration application, CLICK HERE or visit www.nacdl.org/meetings.


SAVE The DATE: 12th Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference

NACDL's 12th Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference will be held in San Francisco, California, at The Westin St. Francis hotel from July 25-26, 2013. Topics for panel presentations will include:

  • Race In The Criminal Justice System
  • Social Media 101 Part II
  • Drug Law Reform
  • Wrongful Convictions
  • 4th Amendment
  • The Legacy of Gideon 50 years Later
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Special presentation of the 2013 Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award

For more information, click here.


2013 NACDL Election

The 2013 NACDL election is underway. NACDL’s Nominating Committee announced its nominees for Director and Officer positions on February 22, 2013. NACDL members will elect 13 members of the Board of Directors, as well as President-Elect, First Vice President, Second Vice President, and Secretary. The announcement of the Nominating Committee, further election updates, and all rules governing the conduct of NACDL elections are available at www.nacdl.org/elections.

In Other News

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