April 2015

April 2015 Cover

In this issue, discover a basic plan for preparing, analyzing, and investigating child sex cases.


Articles in this Issue

  1. Accepting Miller’s ­Invitation: Conducting a Capital-Style Mitigation Investigation in Juvenile-Life

    The 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Miller v. Alabama issued an invitation for the defense bar to create a fairer and more individualized sentencing landscape in juvenile cases with a potential sentence of life without parole (JLWOP). JLWOP cases now are arguably the constitutional equivalent of death penalty cases, and thus the principles of capital mitigation investigations should apply. The defense team’s investigation must include an exhaustive examination of the client, his life, medical and mental health, social connections, and environment.

    Betsy Wilson and Amanda Myers

  2. Book Review: Too Big to Jail: How Prosecutors Compromise with Corporations

    Brandon Garrett’s  calling card as a researcher is the brute force attack. In both his previous  work on wrongful convictions and his more recent turn to corporate crime, Garrett’s approach has been to mine and synthesize every  available ounce of data from the public record — and to great effect. Convicting the  Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong is rightly seen  as a landmark book on wrongful convictions, and his latest work, Too Big to  Jail: How Prosecutors Compromise with Corporations, is sure to be  comparably influential.

    Andrew George and Kyle Clark

  3. Capital Cases

    Willie Herring’s case cried out for mitigation. The cry went unanswered. The 5-4 decision from the Ohio Supreme Court in Herring’s case does not break new ground. It does, however, provide important reminders about the duty of capital defense attorneys to ensure that a comprehensive mitigation investigation is conducted in every case.

    Natman Schaye

  4. Clemency Project 2014TM Works to Assist Victims of America’s Incarceration Epidemic

    Clemency Project 2014, a response to the Obama administration’s interest in expanding the use of executive clemency, aims to provide assistance to thousands of individuals seeking reduced sentences.

    Isaac Kramer

  5. Conquer Your Fear: Taking on a Child Sex Case

    Particularly in child sex cases, success lies in preparation. It may be tempting for a lawyer to pass a case alleging a child sex offense to another lawyer who has more experience in handling such cases. While experience is important, a lawyer prepared to spend the time and resources researching the facts and background information and thoughtfully analyzing the issues can successfully defend cases that may initially appear hopeless. Kathleen Stilling provides a basic plan for preparing, analyzing, and investigating child sex cases.

    Kathleen Stilling

  6. From the President: The Time Has Come for Forfeiture Reform

    Forfeiture reform is long overdue. The Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act would raise the level of proof required to seize property to the more reasonable standard of “clear and convincing evidence,” which would help protect property owners.

    Theodore Simon

  7. Justice as Fairness: Forensic Implications Of DNA and Privacy

    The use of DNA in criminal cases has improved the ability to associate individuals with crime scenes and to associate individuals with each other. Advancing technologies, however, may threaten privacy. DNA analyses have the potential to reveal information about one’s health, one’s family, and one’s future health. Statutes mandating the gathering of DNA from individuals merely arrested but not convicted are ripe for a legal challenge.

    Gary R. Skuse and Anne M. Burger

  8. NACDL News: New Orleans Midwinter Meeting

    Pictures from New Orleans Midwinter Meeting.

    Ivan J. Dominguez and Isaac Kramer

  9. NACDL News: Detention of Public Defender ‘Unconscionable’; NACDL Stands With San Francisco Public De

    In a video posted online on Jan. 27, it appears that San Francisco Deputy Public Defender Jami Tillotson was arrested and detained, in the courthouse and in front of her client, for doing her job.

    Ivan J. Dominguez and Isaac Kramer

  10. NACDL News: DOJ Submits Landmark Filing On Unconstitutional Bail Practices and the Indigent

    The Department of Justice filed a landmark Statement of Interest on Feb. 13 on behalf of the United States in Varden v. City of Clanton, which is pending in the U.S. District Court for in the Middle District of Alabama. In that filing, the DOJ is clear — “Incarcerating individuals solely because of their inability to pay for their release, whether through the payment of fines, fees, or a cash bond, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

    Ivan J. Dominguez and Isaac Kramer

  11. NACDL News: First Guantánamo Conviction Vacated; Further Evidence Military Commissions Are a Failure

    On Feb. 18, a military appeals court overruled the conviction of David Hicks, the first person to be convicted of a war crime by a military commission at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Hicks, an Australian, pleaded guilty in 2007 to a single charge of providing material support to a terrorist organization. His conviction was overturned because the offense he was charged with was not considered a war crime at the time.

    Ivan J. Dominguez and Isaac Kramer

  12. NACDL News: NACDL Past President and Foundation for Criminal Justice Secretary Bruce M. Lyons Receiv

    On Feb. 5, NACDL Past President Bruce M. Lyons received the Broward Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ (BACDL) Harry Gulkin Award. Lyons has been a member of BACDL since its founding.

    Ivan J. Dominguez and Isaac Kramer

  13. NACDL News: NACDL Praises Pennsylvania Moratorium on the Death Penalty

    On Feb. 13, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf suspended the death penalty in his state. While it is reported that Pennsylvania has not executed any prisoners since 1999, the state does have approximately 186 people currently on death row.

    Ivan J. Dominguez and Isaac Kramer

  14. NACDL News: NACDL Supports Bicameral Introduction of Forfeiture Reform Legislation in Congress

    On Jan. 27, Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced the “Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act of 2015” in both the House and the Senate, respectively. NACDL supports this legislation as it would bring much-needed improvements to federal civil asset forfeiture laws.

    Ivan J. Dominguez and Isaac Kramer

  15. NACDL Takes on the NSA and Stands up for Internet Privacy (Inside NACDL)

    In March 2015, NACDL joined a lawsuit challenging the National Security Agency’s mass intercepting and searching of Americans’ international Internet communications, including emails and Web browsing content.

    Norman L. Reimer

  16. The Presumption of Innocence and Trial Court Judges: Our Greatest Failing

    Judge Mark Bennett writes that trial court judges have failed to assist potential jurors in understanding and internalizing the meaning of the presumption of innocence. “Most potential jurors actually believe in the presumption of guilt and not the presumption of innocence,” he states. Unless judges dramatically improve their efforts to explain the presumption of innocence, he does not believe that every juror will be committed to giving the defendant the full benefit of the presumption.

    Judge Mark W. Bennett