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September 30, 2015; Vol. 14 No. 09

Nation's Criminal Defense Bar Issues Major Report; Calls for Greater Independence for Federal Indigent Defense System

On September 9, after over 18 months of study, more than 130 individuals interviewed (including federal judges, federal defenders, Criminal Justice Act (CJA) panel attorneys, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AO) personnel, and others, representing 49 states and all federal judicial circuits), hundreds of documents reviewed, and surveys conducted, NACDL officially released a major report — Federal Indigent Defense 2015: The Independence Imperative. The report, adopted by NACDL's Board of Directors at its recent annual meeting, reflects the significant work of NACDL's Task Force on Federal Indigent Defense and offers "Seven Fundamentals of a Robust Federal Indigent Defense System."

As explained by NACDL President E.G. "Gerry" Morris, "At his confirmation hearing, Chief Justice John Roberts explained that the role of a judge is like an umpire, ‘to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat.' This important report reveals that in today's federal indigent defense system, the umpire is doing far more than that. And we all know that umpires should not be deciding how, when, and under what circumstances players get paid or on which team they play."

The full report, which includes an executive summary, as well as many of the documents to which the report cites, is available at www.nacdl.org/federalindigentdefense2015.

And to learn more about NACDL's extensive work in the area of indigent defense, please visit www.nacdl.org/indigentdefense.

Read more here.

Nation's Criminal Defense Bar Hails Department of Justice Filing in Indigent 'Right to Counsel' Case Before Pennsylvania's Supreme Court

On September 10, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an amicus curiae, or friend-of-the-court, brief in a putative class action suit currently before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania concerning the inadequate funding of the Luzerne County public defender's office. In its brief, the thrust of the argument made by United States, through the DOJ amicus brief, is that a civil claim for constructive denial of counsel under the Sixth Amendment is cognizable.

NACDL President E.G. "Gerry" Morris said: "This important filing adds to a line of filings across the nation suggesting a Department of Justice that is ever more focused on the reality and consequences of the tragic overburdening and under-resourcing of public defender offices across the nation. Though today we celebrate Constitution Day, we must be mindful, as reflected in this and numerous other cases, that the Sixth Amendment's promise of the 'Right to Counsel' for all accused of a crime, regardless of one's ability to pay for an attorney, remains unfulfilled. NACDL and indeed all who are concerned with the vitality of the rights of the accused are heartened by the increased frequency and force with which the Department of Justice is weighing in on these matters. It makes a difference."

NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer said: "The DOJ echoes what NACDL has long maintained: An overburdened, under-resourced attorney is tantamount to no counsel at all. The Sixth Amendment right to counsel is a real and vital right. It is not a fiction or a sham. It is a core value in the Bill of Rights that honors the dignity of the individual. It is time to stop paying lip service to it, and start honoring it in every case and in every criminal court in the nation."

The Brief for the United States as Amicus Curiae in Support of Appellants is available here. And the Brief of Amicus Curiae NACDL and PACDL in Support of Appellants is available here.

To learn more about NACDL's extensive work in the area of indigent defense, please visit www.nacdl.org/indigentdefense.

Read more here.

NACDL Releases Defense Attorney Guide to Adult Pretrial Release in Colorado; Additional States Forthcoming

In partnership with the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender and the Colorado Criminal Defense Institute, and with grant support from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, NACDL published the Colorado Bail Book: A Defense Attorney's Guide to Adult Pretrial Release on September 21 and made it available to Colorado defenders at their annual conference.

NACDL's Director of Indigent Defense Training and Reform Colette Tvedt noted that "this project reflects NACDL's commitment to fostering the expertise of the criminal defense profession, and fulfills the Association's well-established policy emphasizing pretrial release and the limited use of financial bond, which disproportionately impacts poor and working class individuals and effectively coerces even innocent defendants into pleading guilty in exchange for a sentence of 'time served.'"

The Colorado Bail Book is available for download here. Similar manuals for two more jurisdictions are forthcoming in 2016.

Read more here.

NACDL Co-Sponsors Capitol Hill Event on Overcriminalization

On September 16, 2015, NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer introduced a panel titled "Striking the Right Balance: Criminal v. Civil Sanctions" on Capitol Hill. Planned by NACDL and co-sponsored by The Constitution Project, the event focused on educating Hill staffers about the important distinctions between civil and criminal enforcement. Prof. Lucian Dervan served as moderator. And the panelists were federal defender Adeel Bashir as well as NACDL members Marjorie Peerce and John Lauro.

Video of the discussion is available here.

To learn more about NACDL's efforts to combat overcriminalization, please visit www.nacdl.org/overcrim.

Charles Koch Institute 2015 Advancing Justice Summit

NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer and Director of White Collar Crime Policy Shana-Tara O’Toole are among the broad array of criminal justice experts presenting at the Charles Koch Institute 2015 Advancing Justice Summit, to be held in New Orleans, Louisiana from November 4th to 6th this fall. Topics to be covered at the summit include justice and morality, overcriminalization, reform in the states: a survey of success, policing and property rights, the business community’s role in re-entry, the future of policing in America, sentencing and public safety in America, and alternatives to incarceration.

For more information and to request an invitation, please visit www.charleskochinstitute.org/justicesummit.

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, DC.

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 19, 2016. 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 13, 2015.

Interested members should contact Lisa Ama Schrade, NACDL’s National Affairs Assistant, at (202) 465-7638 or lschrade@nacdl.org, for further instructions.

Become a Life Member of NACDL

There will never be a better time to become a Life Member of NACDL! You can lock in the current rate with the first of five yearly $1,000 installments, or a one-time payment of $5,000. If you have ever thought of upgrading your membership…2015 is the year to do it. Beginning January 7, 2016, a new Life Membership will cost $6,500.

CALL: The Membership Hotline now to upgrade your membership! (202) 872-4001 

QUESTIONS: Contact Michael Connor at (202) 465-7654 or mconnor@nacdl.org 

VISIT: http://www.nacdl.org/lifememberupgrade for more information, or to download the Life Membership Form.

New Affinity Partners

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NACDL members save 15% at over 350 Red Roof Inns in 41 states. Guests receive complimentary WiFi and pets stay free. There are three (3) ways to book: Call (800)-RED-ROOF and use code "619952" or “NACDL“ at check-in or online through the NACDL Red Roof Inn website. More>>  


In Other News

Upcoming Committee Meetings
Dates and Times for Upcoming Meetings Will Be Posted Here by Friday, October 2, 2015

Upcoming CLE Events
View the Calendar

Recent Updates to Restoration of Rights Project
View Restoration of Rights Project

Employment Opportunities
View Employment Opportunities

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