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October 31, 2014; Vol. 13 No. 10

In Memoriam


The entire NACDL family mourns the loss of our beloved Treasurer William H. Buckman. Bill was a great person, a stalwart friend, a brilliant lawyer, and the quintessential champion of liberty. We will miss his companionship, his humor, and his intellect. 

In tribute to Bill, his colleagues at the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey have published an online memorial and recommended that those so inclined make a contribution in Bill’s memory to the Foundation for Criminal Justice.


Justice Department to End Practice of Seeking Waivers of Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Claims as Part of Plea Agreements

On October 14, the U.S. Department of Justice announced new department policy on waivers of claims of ineffective assistance of counsel (IAC) in a memo to all federal prosecutors from Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole.

The announcement comes on the heels of a landmark decision handed down on August 21 of this year in U.S. v. Kentucky Bar Assn. There, the Supreme Court of Kentucky unanimously rejected a challenge by the federal government, by and through its federal prosecutors in that jurisdiction, to Kentucky Bar Association Ethics Opinion E-435, which states that the use of IAC waivers in plea agreements violates Kentucky's Rules of Professional Conduct. In that case, NACDL filed an important amicus curiae brief joined by numerous legal ethics professors and practitioners and was also afforded the opportunity to present oral argument before the Supreme Court of Kentucky. 

The Kentucky Bar Association had adopted Ethics Opinion E-435 in late 2012, shortly after NACDL adopted Formal Opinion 12-02, cited in August's Kentucky Supreme Court decision. The 2012 NACDL opinion determined that it is not ethical for a criminal defense lawyer to participate in a plea agreement that bars collateral attacks in the absence of an express exclusion for prospective claims based on ineffective assistance of counsel. The NACDL opinion further states that prosecutors may not ethically propose or require such a waiver. It also describes an attorney's duty when the government attempts to extract such a waiver.


NACDL Offers New Scholarship Funding to Indigent Defense Providers

NACDL is pleased to announce a new program of scholarship assistance for indigent defense providers. The scholarships will foster access for both public and private defenders of the indigent accused to outstanding criminal defense training programs nationwide.

The scholarships, which are supported by various grants, will be awarded in the form of full or partial reimbursement of the registration costs of the excellent training programs offered by NACDL and other organizations. Limited travel reimbursement stipends may also be awarded to qualifying individuals to help defray the costs of travel and lodging.

More information about the scholarships, including detailed eligibility criteria, is on the application forms, which are available at www.nacdl.org/indigentdefense.


New York State Settles Hurrell-Harring Indigent Defense Challenge

Parties in the case of Hurrell-Harring et al. v. New York, a class action brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union challenging systemic deficiencies in the indigent defense services in several New York counties, settled on October 21, 2014, the eve of trial. While the settlement applies to only five of the 57 New York counties, it can be used as a blueprint by other counties in New York to meet the obligation to provide adequate representation to indigent defendants statewide. Only last month, the U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the federal government, filed a statement of interest in the litigation that, while not taking a position on the merits of plaintiffs' claims in this particular case, declared that the right to counsel "is so fundamental to the operation of the criminal justice system that its diminishment erodes the principles of liberty and justice that underpin all of our civil rights in criminal proceedings."

More information about the impact of the decision and links to NACDL’s joint amicus curiae brief in the Hurrell-Harring case, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Statement of Interest, and the October 21, 2014 settlement itself are available on the indigent defense section of NACDL’s website.


Volunteer Attorneys Needed to Support Clemency Project

Earlier this year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced an initiative to entertain petitions for clemency from inmates whose sentences would, due to intervening changes in law or policy, be shorter had they been sentenced today. Clemency Project 2014 seeks your assistance in a national pro bono effort to secure freedom for many federal inmates who are serving unnecessarily harsh sentences for non-violent offences. CP 2014 is a working group comprised of lawyers and advocates including the American Bar Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, Federal and Public Defenders, and NACDL. The goal is to recruit and train lawyers to participate in this project by providing assistance to inmates who meet the stated criteria (which are available at the CP 2014 website www.clemencyproject2014.org).

At this very moment, Project staff is sifting through more than 20,000 requests for assistance from federal inmates. Although many of these inmates will not meet the criteria, it is likely that hundreds, perhaps thousands, will. But the job cannot be completed without your help.

Please join this historic opportunity to reverse the unduly harsh prison sentences that were imposed upon so many. To volunteer please either sign-up at the above website or send an email to volunteer@clemencyproject2014.org.    


NACDL to Sponsor Telephonic Media Q&A Following Argument in Yates v. United States on November 5

On Wednesday, November 5 at 10:00 a.m., the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Yates v. United States (13-7451), a case highlighting the dangerous consequences stemming from the unconstitutional executive expansion of the federal law. In Yates v. United States, the government used a post-Enron anti-shredding statute to prosecute a fisherman for the disappearance of three fish from his shipping vessel.

NACDL's amicus brief author in this case, William N. Shepherd, will be available to answer questions from the media about the case and the argument following the argument on November 5, from 1:00 to 1:30 p.m. Mr. Shepherd, a criminal defense lawyer and member of NACDL, is the former statewide prosecutor of Florida and is currently a partner at the law firm of Holland & Knight.  

For dial-in information, please contact NACDL's Director of Public Affairs & Communications Ivan Dominguez at idominguez@nacdl.org.


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

NACDL is once again pleased to sponsor an 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. Participation in this ceremony, in which admittees are administered the oath of admission by the Chief Justice of the United States in the well of the Supreme Court, 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 20, 2015. 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 14, 2014.

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


Call for Nominations: The 2015 White Collar Criminal Defense Award

The NACDL White Collar Criminal Defense College at Stetson University College of Law is an intensive "boot-camp" style program for practitioners wishing to gain key advocacy skills and learn substantive white collar law.

In conjunction with this event, the Advisory Board of the White Collar Criminal Defense College announces a call for nominations for its annual White Collar Criminal Defense Award. The following criteria have been established for the award: (1) Nominees shall have distinguished themselves in the white collar defense bar; (2) Length of service to the white collar bar and sustained excellence will be considered; (3) Nominees should have enjoyed a recent success in trial or other major result involving a white collar matter; (4) Membership in NACDL is not required but is encouraged and will be considered; and Nominees may be self-nominated or nominated by others.

All nominations should be submitted to both Daniel Weir (dweir@nacdl.org) and Ellen S. Podgor (epodgor@law.stetson.edu). The deadline for submissions is November 15, 2014.


NACDLConnect v. 2.0: Get Connected with Your Colleagues!

Network, exchange information, and discuss strategy with some of America's best-connected, most knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers! We are happy to announce major updates to the functionality of NACDLConnect, based on feedback from NACDL members!

  • Post and reply via email, whether in plain text, digest, or real-time mode
  • Add file attachments to your post from your email client
  • Better handling of cookies to keep you logged into the system
  • New email format: Responsive design adjusts to optimize display for your device!

Get details and get engaged on NACDLConnect at http://connect.nacdl.org/faq1


Get in the game! Win a trip to the 2015 Pro Bowl

NACDL members can win big with FedEx! When you register for the FedEx Advantage® discount program you will be automatically enrolled in the FedEx Advantage 2015 Pro Bowl Package sweepstakes. You could win a trip to the 2015 Pro Bowl or a fabulous First Prize your office will love. Plus, you’ll continue to score discounts of up to 26% on select services even after the promotion ends. Enroll now or call 1-800-475-6708. Be sure to use passcode NACDL1. 

Link for "Enroll now" is: https://advantagemember.visionary.com/6877/ 


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