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April 28, 2017; Vol. 16 No. 04

NACDL First Amendment Strike Force and Mass Defense Unit

NACDL has a long tradition of fighting to protect constitutional principles and standing up for the individual against the government. In keeping with that tradition, the Foundation for Criminal Justice (FCJ) and NACDL have committed to establish a First Amendment Strike Force and Mass Defense Unit. The goal of this project is to provide qualified counsel to represent protesters when the exercise of First Amendment rights results in arrest and prosecution. Specifically, NACDL supports a cadre of criminal defense lawyers who will be available to provide pro bono assistance to protesters throughout the country in the event of mass arrests. For those lawyers who volunteer, NACDL will maintain a database of available counsel and provide training and support at no cost.

Lawyers wishing to volunteer, please send an email to firstamendment@nacdl.org providing your bar number and indicating the state(s) in which you are admitted and are willing to provide pro bono assistance in the event of arrests related to mass protests.

Please stay tuned in the coming weeks for a formal announcement from NACDL and FCJ of the launch of this initiative, once the infrastructure is in place.

Attorney General Sessions Moves Against the Independence and Integrity of Forensic Science

The Washington Post reported on April 10 that Attorney General Jeff Sessions "would not renew the National Commission on Forensic Science, a roughly 30-member advisory panel of scientists, judges, crime lab leaders, prosecutors and defense lawyers chartered by the Obama administration in 2013." Attorney General Sessions also "suspended an expanded review of FBI testimony across several techniques that have come under question, saying a new strategy will be set by an in-house team of law enforcement advisors."

"The reliance of law enforcement on questionable science and the overstatement of the reliability of that science has been a leading cause of the wrongful conviction of innocent people," said NACDL President Barry J. Pollack. "The reason the National Commission on Forensic Science has been so important is that it includes leading independent scientists, allowing an unbiased expert evaluation of which techniques are scientifically valid and which are not. NACDL is terribly disappointed that even while acknowledging the crucial role played by the National Commission on Forensic Science, the Attorney General has chosen to disband it. The Association hopes the DOJ will not abandon its recent steps toward promoting scientific independence and enhancing the reliability of all forensic evidence used in the criminal justice system."

Read more here.

Leesburg, Virginia, Deputy Public Defender Bonnie Hoffman Appointed Public Defense Director for NACDL

On April 25, NACDL announced the appointment of Bonnie H. Hoffman as Director of Public Defense Reform and Training. She will begin at NACDL this May. Leesburg, Virginia, Deputy Public Defender Bonnie Hoffman has been a member of NACDL since 1997. She has served NACDL in numerous capacities, including as Parliamentarian, and as a member of the Executive, Audit, and Budget Committees. She was the 2013 recipient of NACDL's prestigious Robert C. Heeney Memorial Award, which is given annually to the member who best exemplifies the goals and values of the Association and the legal profession. Hoffman was the first active state public defender to receive the award.

NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer said: "Through her career as a dedicated public defender and a uniquely qualified and experienced leader of the bar, Bonnie Hoffman brings extraordinary skills to this critically important position. NACDL’s role as a leading champion for public defense reform and commitment to provide the highest quality training and technical assistance is due in no small part to Bonnie’s volunteer service to the Association. In addition to more than two decades of service as a public defender in Virginia, Bonnie has given of herself for many years, in multiple capacities, to the criminal defense bar, including extensive experience developing and executing trainings for other defenders, in Virginia, in Maryland, and across the nation. As the staff leader of NACDL’s Public Defense Department, she will take those efforts to even higher levels of excellence." 

Read more here.

"Judicial Responsibility for Justice in Criminal Courts" Conference Held at the Monroe H. Freedman Institute at Hofstra University's Maurice A. Deane School of Law

On April 6, 2017, the Monroe H. Freedman Institute at Hofstra University’s Maurice A. Deane School of Law hosted a conference called Judicial Responsibility for Justice in Criminal Courts. The conference brought together judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, scholars, and criminal justice policy experts for a day of interactive panels on procedural justice, bail, implicit bias, deficiencies in the right to counsel, sentencing, and changing court culture. The goals of the program were to identify barriers to justice in overburdened and underfunded state and local criminal justice systems and to explore practical reforms to improve the quality of justice delivered by judges in those courts.

NACDL, in furtherance of its mission to improve justice and due process, was a co-sponsor of the event. Additional co-sponsors were the Foundation for Criminal Justice, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, the Center for Court Innovation, and the New York Office of Court Administration. The planning committee included judges who are board members of the American Judges Association and the National Center for State Courts.

A report detailing the panel presentations from April 6 and presenting recommendations drawn from the April 7 discussions is forthcoming in summer 2017.

Read more here.

Fourth Annual NACDL & Cardozo School of Law National Forensic College

This year’s conference will be held from June 4-9, 2017 in New York City.The National Forensic College (NFC) is an advanced, week-long forensic science CLE designed for experienced trial and post-conviction litigators. The college will prepare attorneys to litigate complex forensic science issues strategically and with the support of the nation’s leading law firms and experts. Attendance is by application only and space is limited, so please apply soon.  

The tuition for private attorneys is only $999 for the full six-day program. To apply, download the attorney application at www.nacdl.org/NFCApp and return to Vanessa Antoun, NACDL Senior Resource Counsel, at vantoun@nacdl.org. Housing is available in the 13th Street Residence Hall dormitory at the New School ($480 for the week) or at a midtown hotel block (average rate for the week is $255/per night). For more information on housing options, contact Peter Walsh, Forensic College Administrator for Cardozo Law, at pwalsh@yu.edu or (212) 790-0315.

The National Forensic College is presented in collaboration with the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, Defender Services Training Division. 

New NACDL Connect Discussion Group on Healthcare Fraud

Members who wish to join the new Healthcare Fraud Discussion Community can click here.

To see a list of all available communities (along with options to join each), members can click here.

The available communities are:

  1. Daily Criminal Justice Briefing
  2. NACDL General Discussion Community
  3. NACDL Healthcare Fraud Discussion Community
  4. NACDL White Collar Crime Discussion Community
  5. Young & New Lawyers Discussion Community
Save the Date – 16th Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference
NACDL’s 16th Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference will take place in San Francisco, CA from July 26-28, 2017. We are looking forward to another amazing conference with relevant issues to guide your advocacy efforts. Please check here for updates as they become available.
NACDL's State Legislative Affairs Committee Seeks Applications for Award
The State Legislative Affairs Committee is seeking nominations for its annual Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award. The award is given to an individual or group that has actively led state reform efforts. Award recipients must be present to receive the award at the State Criminal Justice Network Conference on Friday, July 28, 2017 in San Francisco, CA. For criteria and application guidelines, please click here.
NACDL Board Member Nellie L. King to Receive Women in Leadership Award
Nellie L. King, a NACDL Life Member and current member of the Board of Directors, will receive the 2017 Women in Leadership Award, Private Sector, from the Executive Women of the Palm Beaches on May 11th. Nellie was nominated by a highly regarded local attorney and a judge for her work in organizing volunteers for Clemency Project 2014, among other reasons. The keynote speaker will be Capt. Mark Kelly, Commander of Space Shuttle Endeavour’s final mission. The award ceremony will be held at the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts Cohen Pavilion. Those interested in attending the event can click here to learn more.
NACDL 2017 Election Notice
NACDL's 2017 election is in process. The Nominating Committee will announce its nominations by May 6, 2017. Individuals interested in running for officer positions or for the Board of Directors should consult www.nacdl.org/elections for deadlines and procedures.
Federal Action Alerts

During Second Chance Month Support Legislation to Ease the Collateral Consequences of Conviction 

NACDL has partnered with the Prison Fellowship to recognize Second Chance Month in April. Currently pending in Congress are two opportunities to ease the collateral consequences of a conviction – the Fair Chance Act, H.R. 1905/S. 842 and the REDEEM Act, H.R. 1906/S. 827. The Fair Chance Act would "ban the box" at the federal level. The REDEEM Act, or the Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment Act, would create a mechanism for adults and youth to have their records expunged or sealed.

Help us celebrate Second Chance Month by taking action and contacting your Member of Congress today and ask them to support the Fair Chance Act and the REDEEM Act!

Federal Legislative Tracking
Click here for a complete listing of all federal legislation NACDL is currently tracking. For more information on a specific bill or to learn NACDL's position, please contact Monica Reid, NACDL's Grassroots Advocacy Manager, at mreid@nacdl.org.
State Legislative Tracking
Click here for a complete listing of all legislation NACDL is currently tracking, sorted by issue area. Under each issue area you can either view legislation in select states or view all legislation. To jump to your particular state of interest, just click on the state on the map.
Advocacy Resources: What NACDL Can Do for You

Visit NACDL's Take Action webpage for state and federal legislative updates and action alerts. You can find more advocacy information and resources in NACDL's Advocacy Resource Library.

Please contact NACDL's Grassroots Advocacy Manager, Monica L. Reid, at mreid@nacdl.org for any advocacy question or need.

New Affinity Partners


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Wyndham Hotel Group 

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NACDL members can get great deals from our 20+ affinity partners. Click through to www.nacdl.org/costsavings/ to save on insurance, travel, office supplies, package delivery, and much more.

In Other News

Upcoming Committee Meetings
Dates and times for upcoming meetings are available online.

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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