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July 31, 2013; Vol. 12 No. 7

Kentucky Lawyer Jerry J. Cox Sworn in as 2013-14 President of NACDL

Jerry J. Cox, of Mount Vernon, Kentucky, was sworn in on Saturday, July 27, as NACDL President at the Association’s 56th Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California. Mr. Cox has previously served NACDL as President-Elect, First and Second Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Parliamentarian, as well as on the Association’s Board of Directors.

Mr. Cox is a sole practitioner based in Mount Vernon, Kentucky where he has been practicing criminal defense law for over 40 years. Throughout his career, Mr. Cox has published and lectured extensively on criminal law issues. He is deeply committed to the defense bar and has served on the faculty of the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy’s (DPA) Trial Practice Institute for many years. In 2002, the Kentucky DPA recognized Mr. Cox’s commitment to criminal defense by awarding him the Nelson Mandela Lifetime Achievement Award.

Mr. Cox is also a Past President of the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and a member of the American Bar Association (ABA) and Kentucky Bar Association (KBA). Mr. Cox is a Life Member of NACDL and in numerous recent years, including 2009, Mr. Cox received NACDL’s President’s Commendation for outstanding service to the goals and objectives of the criminal defense bar and for outstanding service in fighting for the rights of all persons.

For more information about Mr. Cox, please click here.

2013-14 Officers and Newly Elected Members of the Board of Directors Sworn in at Annual Meeting

On July 27, at its Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California, NACDL installed its new officers and directors.

Executive Committee

President: Jerry J. Cox (Mount Vernon, KY)
President-Elect: Theodore Simon (Philadelphia, PA)
First Vice President: E.G. Morris (Austin, TX)
Second Vice President: Barry J. Pollack (Washington, DC)
Treasurer: John Wesley Hall (Little Rock, AR) (second year of two-year term)
Secretary: Rick Jones (New York, NY)

Board of Directors

Christopher W. Adams (Charleston, SC)
Brian H. Bieber (Coral Gables, FL)
Andrew S. Birrell (Minneapolis, MN)
Susan K. Bozorgi (Miami, FL)
Maureen A. Cain (Denver, CO)
Paula Henderson (Knoxville, TN) (Affiliate Representative)
Stephen Ross Johnson (Knoxville, TN)
Elizabeth Kelley (Spokane, WA)
Norman R. Mueller (Denver, CO)
Kristina W. Supler (Cleveland, OH)
CeCelia Valentine (Phoenix, AZ) (Affiliate Representative)
Christopher A. Wellborn (Rock Hill, SC)
Steven M. Wells (Anchorage, AK)
Christie Williams (Austin, TX)
William P. Wolf (Chicago, IL)

George H. Newman (Philadelphia, PA) was appointed Parliamentarian by NACDL President Jerry J. Cox at the July 27 meeting of the Board of Directors.

Directors Alexander Bunin (Houston, TX) and Bonnie H. Hoffman (Leesburg, VA) were selected to serve on NACDL’s Executive Committee.

Bonnie H. Hoffman Receives 2013 Heeney Award

Leesburg, Va. attorney Bonnie Hoffman was chosen as this year’s Robert C. Heeney Award recipient. NACDL’s most prestigious recognition, the Heeney Award is given annually to the member who best exemplifies the goals and values of the Association and the legal profession. Hoffman received the award on Saturday, July 27, at NACDL’s Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California. Describing Ms. Hoffman’s dedication to justice, NACDL Immediate Past President Steve Benjamin said: “Apart from her public defender duties and her substantial work for NACDL, Bonnie Hoffman has a commitment to public and pro bono service that makes her extraordinary.”

For more information on the Heeney Award and Ms. Hoffman’s accomplishments, please click here.

Bruce Jacob Receives Champion of Indigent Defense Award

Bruce Jacob, Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law at Stetson University College of Law, was presented with NACDL’s Champion of Indigent Defense Award at its Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California last week. The Champion of Indigent Defense Award recognizes an individual for exceptional efforts in making positive changes to a local, county, state, or national indigent defense system. Over 50 years ago, Prof. Jacob began his career by arguing for the State of Florida in the historic case of Gideon v. Wainwright, but in the years since he has dedicated himself to becoming one of the nation’s strongest voices advocating for the right to effective indigent defense counsel.

For more information on the Champion of Indigent Defense Award and Prof. Jacob’s accomplishments, please click here.


Peter Wagner Receives Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award

Peter Wagner, attorney and Executive Director of the Prison Policy Initiative, was presented with NACDL’s 3rd Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award last week at NACDL’s 12th Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference in San Francisco, California. The Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award honors individuals or groups whose exceptional efforts have led toward progressive reform of a state criminal justice system. Mr. Wagner was recognized with this award for his tireless, decades-long work to expose the how the U.S. criminal justice system negatively impacts all people, even those who are not directly involved in the legal system.

For more information on the Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award and Mr. Wagner’s accomplishments, please click here.

Innocence Project and NACDL Announce Historic Partnership with the FBI and Department of Justice on Microscopic Hair Analysis Cases: Government Agrees to Notify Defendants of Error, Waive Procedural Arguments and Offer Free DNA Testing

On July 18, the Innocence Project, NACDL and its partners announced a groundbreaking and historic agreement with the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to review more than 2,000 criminal cases in which the FBI conducted microscopic hair analysis of crime scene evidence. The agencies agreed to undertake the review after three men who had served lengthy prison sentences were exonerated by DNA testing in cases in which three different FBI hair examiners provided testimony which exceeded the limits of science and contributed to their wrongful convictions. The review will focus on specific cases in which FBI Laboratory reports and testimony included statements that were scientifically invalid.

To read more, click here.


Groundbreaking Conference Report Offers Concrete Steps to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Disparities in America’s Criminal Justice System

Issued on July 17, Criminal Justice in the 21st Century: Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System is a critically important and inclusive examination of the profound racial and ethnic disparities in America’s criminal justice system, and concrete ways to overcome them. The report was co-sponsored by NACDL and the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, the Foundation for Criminal Justice, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions, and the New York County Lawyers’ Association.

Prepared by Consultant Tanya E. Coke, the report is based upon a multi-day, open and frank discussion among a distinguished group of criminal justice experts – prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys, scholars, community leaders, and formerly incarcerated advocates which was held October 17-19, 2012, at the New York County Lawyers’ Association’s historic Home of Law. The report summarizes the candid, sometimes painful panel discussions, and identifies the panoply of remedies that may advance the goal of eliminating the disparate racial and ethnic impact from America’s criminal justice system.

More information, including a link to a complete copy of the report, can be found here.


NACDL Submits Testimony to Senate Calling for Adequate Funding to Federal Defender Organizations to be Restored

On June 23, NACDL submitted testimony to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Bankruptcy and the Courts and the Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government voicing its concern over deep cuts to the federal public defenders’ budget and calling for full funding to be restored. The testimony was submitted to coincide with the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the sequester's impact on the courts and funding bill markup in the Appropriations Subcommittee. NACDL submitted its testimony jointly with the Constitution Project, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, and the American Council of Chief Defenders.

The testimony noted that, since February, federal defender organizations have already lost nearly 10% of their approved budgets and could lose an additional 14% in fiscal year 2014. The existing cuts have required significant layoffs, 15-20 day furloughs, and the complete elimination of defender training and additional cuts will leave federal defender organizations with even fewer resources. An estimated 90% of federal defendants qualify for federal defender or court-appointed counsel, and because of this delays and other administrative problems will only worsen with time, as the drastic reduction in federal defenders will not staunch the flow of indigent defendants requiring appointed counsel. To avert such a crisis, Congress must restore funding to the Defenders Services account.

Complete copies of NACDL’s testimony can be found here.

NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer Testifies at Congressional Overcriminalization Task Force Hearing; Calls for Clear, Strong and Universal Intent Requirements in Federal Criminal Law

The Congressional Task Force on Overcriminalization, which was created on May 7 by a unanimous vote of the House Committee on the Judiciary, held its second hearing on July 19. The task force – composed of five Democrats and five Republicans – will “conduct hearings and investigations and issue a report on overcriminalization in the federal code, as well as possible solutions.”

NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer was one of two witnesses at the July 19 hearing, which focused specifically on the subject of “Mens Rea: The Need for a Meaningful Intent Requirement in Federal Criminal Law.” In his presentation, Reimer noted that the erosion of intent requirement in federal criminal statutes “is one issue on which the most important ingredient for reform is already present – that is, impressive bipartisan consensus.” Urging Congress to adopt a default mens rea statute, requiring willful conduct – specifically, that a person must act with the knowledge that the person’s conduct was unlawful -- as the basis for criminal liability, and to altogether abandon strict liability criminal laws, Reimer said: “Without a clear intent requirement, the individual will not realize when they are crossing the line. That is not fair. And it’s not effective. If people do not know something is wrong, they will not be deterred from doing it. That’s the whole point of a criminal law in the first place.”

Links to a live webcast of the full hearing, the written testimony of NACDL Executive Director Norman Reimer and that of Mr. John S. Baker, Jr. are available here.

Ongoing NSA Revelations Source of Deep Concern for NACDL

On July 2, NACDL issued a statement outlining its profound concern over the ongoing revelations suggesting that the U.S. Government is engaged in a wholesale, round-the-clock infringement of Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights. Among the concerns raised by these disclosures specific to the Constitutionally-outlined role of defense counsel in the American criminal justice system is the sanctity of the attorney-client and work product privileges, as well as the use of secret evidence in criminal proceedings. No congressional enactment, executive action, or secret court order can trump the fundamental rights of the American people as set forth in the U.S. Constitution. NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer said: “The time has long passed for the government to provide full disclosure of the complete nature and extent of these surveillance programs.”

Group Admission to the Bar of the U.S. Supreme Court

NACDL is sponsoring a unique opportunity for up to 12 members to participate in a group admission ceremony to the Bar of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. This opportunity will be available to the first 12 qualified members on a first-come, first-served basis and will take place on the morning of January 13, 2014. Members will be responsible for their own travel arrangements, must be in good standing with a state bar for a minimum of three years, and must submit their completed application materials to NACDL by November 8, 2013.

Interested members should contact Elsa-Maria Ohman, NACDL’s National Affairs Assistant, at (202) 465-7638 or eohman@nacdl.org for further instructions.


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