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A Letter from the President of the FCJ



Dear Colleague,

No matter who you supported on Election Day, the Foundation for Criminal Justice (FCJ) stands as strong as ever with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) in its critically important work to bring meaningful reform to America’s criminal justice system.

In good times and in bad times, from Wounded Knee to the John Adams Project to Clemency Project 2014, the nation’s criminal defense bar, supported by the FCJ, stands with all accused persons as Liberty’s Last Champions™. The crisis in the nation’s criminal justice system is the product of misguided policies enacted by political leaders from across the political spectrum—misguided policies like mass incarceration, racial and ethnic disparity, chronically under-supported public defense systems, and the evisceration of fundamental constitutional rights and liberties.

The criminal justice system now faces renewed challenges. President Elect Donald J. Trump has said a number of things that raise the specter of new, and also familiar, challenges that the FCJ and NACDL will meet.

  • “I would bring back waterboarding,” Donald Trump said at the GOP primary debate in February 2016, “and I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”

  • “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY.” – Donald J. Trump, New York Times (advertisement), May 1, 1989
  • The Central Park Five “admitted they were guilty … [t]he police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that that case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous.” – Donald J. Trump on the exonerated Central Park Five, October 2016
  • “…I would do stop-and-frisk … it worked incredibly well…” – Fox News Town Hall September 2016
  • “I do think we can do a lot of privatizations and private prisons.” – March 2016 town hall

Indeed, President Elect Trump tweeted that “[t]his election is a choice between law, order & safety - or chaos, crime & violence.”

No matter how you voted, we all know first-hand what it means when “law & order” and “tough on crime” policies win the day. Criminal defense lawyers know that it means to live with the heartbreak inflicted on clients and families. And all those who support a fair and rational criminal justice system know when they see the impact on communities and society at large.

The FCJ pledges to redouble its efforts to promote reform. Stand with the FCJ and the united criminal defense bar as we continue the fight to preserve the right to counsel and the Fourth Amendment in the digital age, to stop overcriminalization and overfederalization of the criminal law, to end discovery violations and prosecutorial misconduct, and to roll back the collateral consequences of criminal convictions.

You can stand alongside the criminal defense bar in the years to come with a tax-deductible contribution to the Foundation for Criminal Justice, and support the critical work that the FCJ and NACDL perform every day as Liberty’s Last Champion®.

Support the FCJ 

Regardless of who you supported in the election, we hope you will join us to proclaim the importance of the right to counsel and the continuing need for criminal justice reform. A donation to the FCJ will keep the nation’s criminal defense bar at the vanguard, protecting the rights of all of the people in America.


Gerald B. Lefcourt
President, Foundation for Criminal Justice

About the Foundation for Criminal Justice

The Foundation for Criminal Justice preserves and promotes the core values of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the American criminal justice system. Ongoing and recent projects supported by the FCJ include an unprecedented study of obstacles to restoration of rights and status after conviction; an upcoming conference to identify concrete and easily-achieved solutions to racial disparities in the criminal justice system; an ongoing series of events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark Gideon v. Wainwright decision; free trainings for lawyers on a variety of topics including representing juveniles accused of wrongdoing and individuals facing immigration-related collateral consequences of conviction; and efforts to improve indigent defense in federal and state courts.

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