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March 30, 2018; Vol. 17 No. 03

NACDL Laments Retrograde Trump Rhetoric on Death Penalty

On March 19, 2018, the president made clear his view about the importance of harsh penalties, including the death penalty for "big pushers," as a tool in the fight against the public health problem of drug addiction.

"Against a backdrop of inappropriate praise for authoritarian regimes, including their extrajudicial killings of those suspected of selling illegal drugs, the president again advocated for reversing the decades-long trend in America away from the misguided and perverse practice of capital punishment," said NACDL President Rick Jones. "Unfortunately, the president’s policy proposals on education and treatment to address this devastating public health crisis were largely overshadowed by his support for capital punishment. Until now, our nation’s collective approach to opioids has been a welcome change from the damage caused by the ‘War on Drugs.’ We must similarly work to ensure that the death penalty is also a thing of the past."

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, from its modern peak in 1999, the number of death sentences has been dramatically declining. The total number of states that have abolished the death penalty is up to 19, plus the District of Columbia. Since 1973, there have been some 161 death row exonerations.

Because NACDL believes that no amount of tinkering will rescue the death penalty from its inherent flaws, NACDL supports legislation to abolish the death penalty. In addition, NACDL supports individual state efforts to halt and study the death penalty as well as federal legislation to institute a moratorium.

NACDL has steadfastly called for the abolition of the death penalty and is part of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

NACDL/FAMM State Clemency Project Seeking Volunteer New York Attorneys

The NACDL/FAMM State Clemency Project is seeking volunteer New York attorneys for state clemency work. The project, designed to help recruit, train, and provide resource support to pro bono attorneys who will assist state prisoners in submitting petitions to have their sentences commuted, has begun assigning cases in New York. The project has developed procedures to provide an initial packet of records for each applicant and to facilitate quick access to records and easy communication with applicants.

NACDL is also seeking experienced criminal defense attorneys to serve as Advisory Attorneys in the New York State Clemency Initiative, part of the NACDL/FAMM State Clemency Project. Advisory Attorneys will provide operational support to the project by giving legal advice and reviewing case documents. Many volunteer attorneys working on cases are not criminal practitioners, so the experience and perspectives of Advising Attorneys are invaluable.

To learn more, email Project Manager Steven Logan at slogan@nacdl.org.

Register Now: NACDL’s Presidential Summit and 17th Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference
On behalf of NACDL’s State Legislative Affairs Committee and the Foundation for Criminal Justice, NACDL invites you to participate in NACDL’s Presidential Summit and 17th Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference, Shattering the Shackles of Collateral Consequences: Exploring Moral Principles and Economic Innovations to Restore Rights and Opportunity. The event will take place Thursday, August 23, through Saturday, August 25, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia.
April is “Second Chance Month”
For the second year, NACDL will be partnering with Prison Fellowship in acknowledging Second Chance Month. 2018 marks the 10th anniversary of the passage of the Second Chance Act. NACDL will be helping constituents set up district meetings with their legislators during the spring break. If you are interested in having a meeting with your legislator, please contact Monica Reid at mreid@nacdl.org. In addition, Nina Ginsberg, NACDL First Vice President, will be speaking at the Road to Second Chances Prayer Walk on Saturday, April 7, from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.
New Forum for Women in Criminal Defense

NACDL has recently launched a new community on NACDLConnect: the Women in Criminal Defense Discussion Community. This community is open to all NACDL members as a dedicated support network and forum for addressing issues of particular concern to women in the profession, ranging from career development and practice management to the role of gender in client interactions and courtroom dynamics. The discussions already taking place among community members shed much-needed light on the unique challenges women face as advocates, and identify strategies for change.

The forum provides a platform to:

Communicate: Initiate and engage in dialogue with your peers around the country when you seek additional perspective and input.

Connect: Establish informal connections across the criminal defense profession.

Change: Harness the power of collective thought and action to promote meaningful change where needed to enable women defenders to thrive as powerful advocates for their clients and, where necessary, themselves.

To join the Women in Criminal Defense Discussion Community, visit NACDLConnect and adjust your subscription settings to add the community to your ongoing discussions. NACDL looks forward to hearing what you have to say and advancing the conversation about women's experience in the field of criminal defense.

If you need assistance getting started with NACDLConnect, please call Member Services at 202-872-4001.

Resources Available Free of Charge from NACDL's Presidential Summit and Seminar: "Race Matters: The Impact of Race on Criminal Justice"

Videos of presentations, along with associated PDFs of any written materials, are now available free of charge from NACDL's Presidential Summit and Seminar: "Race Matters: The Impact of Race on Criminal Justice." This inaugural Presidential Summit was designed to help practitioners identify and confront issues of racial bias in our courts, the law enforcement community, by prosecutors, and yes, even the defense team. Attendees heard from trial lawyers, academics, and formerly incarcerated individuals who offered their personal perspectives, strategies, and ideas on why Race Matters. This program was created to intentionally challenge individuals to push the envelope on their understanding of and willingness to attack racial bias in the criminal justice system.

Click here to access these materials.

NACDL’s 2018 Champion of Public Defense Award

The Public Defense Committee is calling for nominations for the 2018 Champion of Public Defense Award. The award recognizes an individual or group for exceptional efforts in making positive changes to a local, county, state, or federal public defense system. Although the outstanding direct, individual representation of every defendant is one of NACDL’s foremost goals, this award is intended to highlight efforts toward systemic advances through legislation, litigation, or other strategies.

Nominations must include: the name, title, address, and phone number of the person/group being nominated and the person/group submitting the nomination; a summary, not to exceed two (2) single-spaced pages of the problems that existed in the relevant public defense system, the efforts made by the nominee to improve the system, the number of years the nominee has been involved in efforts to improve public defense, a brief history of the nominee’s career, and any changes that have been made in the system as a result of the nominee’s efforts.

In addition the submission may include supporting documentation such as reports, news articles, and letters of support.

Nominations must be post marked or emailed by MAY 1, 2018 and sent to: NACDL Champion of Public Defense Award, Attn: Bonnie Hoffman, 1660 L Street, NW, 12th floor, Washington, D.C. 20036 or bhoffman@nacdl.org with the subject line: “Champion of Public Defense Award”.

Information about the Champion of Public Defense Award can be found at www.nacdl.org/publicdefense.

NACDL's 2018 Election Notice
NACDL's 2018 election is underway. Individuals interested in running for officer positions or for the board of directors should consult NACDL's Election Center for deadlines and procedures.
Sign Up to Receive the Daily Criminal Justice Briefing!
The Daily Criminal Justice Briefing compiles the most important criminal justice stories from around the country and the world from major journals and media outlets affecting the criminal defense profession. This exclusive NACDL member benefit is prepared and issued by NACDL's Public Affairs and Communications team six days a week. To sign up, subscribe to the "Daily Criminal Justice Briefing Community" in your NACDLConnect Account.
Legislative Advocacy

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 Senior Manager for Advocacy, Monica L. Reid, at mreid@nacdl.org for any advocacy question or need.

“Second Chance Month” April 2018 

Last year, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution declaring April 2017 "Second Chance Month." This year, NACDL will continue to work with its partners to promote Second Chance Month and mechanisms that would provide for relief from the collateral consequences of conviction and arrest. Therefore, NACDL will be spearheading in-district congressional visits in celebration of Second Chance Month during the week of April 2-6, 2018. NACDL will promote the Second Chance Month resolution, H. Res. 789, as well as key federal bills that are currently pending to provide relief from collateral consequences.

Please complete the following survey if you are interested in participating. You may direct any questions to mreid@nacdl.org.

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 Senior Manager for Advocacy, at mreid@nacdl.org.

Federal Action Alerts

Take Action to Support Expanding Federal Expungement Eligibility  

The Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment Act, or the REDEEM Act, H.R. 1906/S. 827, would automatically seal and, in some cases, expunge juvenile records. It would also allow adults convicted of nonviolent crimes to petition a court to have their records sealed.

Help NACDL reduce the collateral consequences of returning citizens. Contact your Member of Congress today and urge them to support the REDEEM Act! 

Take Action to "Ban the Box"  

Legislation to "Ban the Box" at the federal level has been reintroduced this Congress. The Fair Chance Act, H.R. 1905/S. 842, would require the federal government and federal contractors to postpone a request for criminal history information from job applicants until the applicant has received a conditional offer of employment.

Help NACDL reduce the barriers to employment for formerly incarcerated people. Contact your Member of Congress today! 

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In Other News

Upcoming Committee Meetings
Dates and times will be available soon.

Upcoming CLE Events
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Recent Updates to Restoration of Rights Project
View Restoration of Rights Project

Employment Opportunities
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