December 2016

December 2016 Cover

This month Norman Reimer reflects on President Obama’s commutations and the lawyers who volunteered for Clemency Project 2014.


Articles in this Issue

  1. Affiliate News

    Affiliate News for December 2016 Champion.

    Gerald Lippert

  2. Analyzing Videotaped Interrogations and Confessions

    The recorded interrogation has the potential to make the playing field more level by inhibiting some of the more egregious interrogation tactics and making interrogator-suspect interaction available for replay by fact finders. The recording of the interrogation, however, may not give the appearance of a smoking gun or make it obvious that a defendant would cave to an interrogator’s coercive pressure. Rather, the videotaped interrogation will require some decoding. Defense attorneys must become familiar with the techniques and social psychology of interrogation so that they can identify persuasion and coercion. Where coercion occurs, the defense attorney can explain — with data — how the interrogators used techniques that could have overborne the suspect’s will and may have caused the suspect to confess falsely. The authors highlight a few things to watch for when a case involves a recorded interrogation.

    Brian L. Cutler and Richard A. Leo

  3. Book Review: Forensics - What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA and More Tell Us About Crime

    It may be that we as defense attorneys are too quick to roll our eyes at the supposed travails of prosecutors, but one has only to Google “CSI effect” to find that many prosecutors feel like they are unfairly being asked to provide forensic evidence of a quality comparable to that shown on television in every criminal case. The concern, often voiced, is that if a juror is not presented with DNA tests, ballistics data, or at least fingerprint evidence, it appears that the police or FBI simply did not do their jobs.

    Allan F. Brooke II

  4. Book Review: John Paul Stevens - Defender of Rights in Criminal Justice

    John Paul Stevens had the third-longest tenure on the Supreme Court. He wrote more concurrences (389) and dissents (720) than any other justice in the Court’s history. David Souter described him as the “smartest” justice and Antonin Scalia referred to him as his “favorite sparring partner.” Yet he has received much less scholarly attention than most of his contemporaries. Christopher E. Smith, a professor of criminal justice at Michigan State University, wrote this book in an effort to correct that imbalance and give Stevens the attention he deserves.

    Cheryl D. Stein

  5. Book Review: Math on Trial - How Numbers Get Used and Abused in the Courtroom

    This small volume is a fascinating, cogently written study of mathematics in the courtroom. Leila Schneps and Coralie Colmez, the mother-daughter authors, who live in Paris and London, respectively, examine 10 cases from across the globe and through the centuries to illustrate that “the same mathematical tricks that mislead the public about market trends and risk and social problems have sent innocent people to prison.” (p. ix)

    Susan Elizabeth Reese

  6. Book Review: Suppressing Criminal Evidence

    Deja Vishny has written an indispensable guide to litigating motions to suppress evidence. Her new book, Suppressing Criminal Evidence, is a superb manual on challenging searches and seizures of physical evidence as well as statements and confessions. Most NACDL members are familiar with the author, who lectures widely to our association, teaches at NCDC and writes for The Champion.

    Tony Bornstein

  7. Cloud Computing for Criminal Lawyers: It’s Not the Future Anymore

    By using cloud-based resources, lawyers can better find and protect client information, better collaborate and communicate with clients and colleagues, and save time and money. Which cloud-based services should a lawyer use? Professor Dane Ciolino offers digital workflow rules for lawyers transitioning into the cloud and provides common sense suggestions concerning security measures to employ when storing confidential information in the cloud.

    Dane S. Ciolino

  8. From the President: Second Acts

    A person can be given an opportunity for a “second act” or second chance in life. How do we know if the person takes the opportunity? It is not truly a second act unless the person learned from the first act and has been transformed.

    Barry J. Pollack

  9. Getting Scholarship Into Court Project

    Getting Scholarship Into Court Project - December 2016 Champion.

    Getting Scholarship Into Court Project

  10. NACDL News: NACDL Attends Second Annual Convening of the Right to Counsel National Consortium

    Staff and members of NACDL attended the Right to Counsel (R2C) National Consortium Second Annual Meeting at the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 25, 2016.

    Ivan J. Dominguez and Ezra Dunkle-Polier

  11. NACDL News: NACDL Receives Outstanding Alliance Award from U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform

    The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) presented NACDL with the Outstanding Alliance Award at its 17th Annual Legal Reform Summit on October 26, 2016, in recognition of the Association’s “important contributions to the fight for criminal justice reform.”

    Ivan J. Dominguez and Ezra Dunkle-Polier

  12. NACDL News: NACDL Staff Recognized for Outstanding Service

    NACDL Staff Recognized for Outstanding Service.

    Ivan J. Dominguez and Ezra Dunkle-Polier

  13. NACDL News: President Obama Commutes 351 Sentences in October and November; Clemency Project 2014 Su

    After commuting the sentences of 200 prisoners in October, on November 4, President Obama commuted the sentences of 72 prisoners, and on November 22, another 79. That brings the total number of commutations granted by President Obama through November 2016 to 1,023, of which 523 were supported by Clemency Project 2014.

    Ivan J. Dominguez and Ezra Dunkle-Polier

  14. NACDL News: Sixth Amendment Center Releases Study of Public Defense in Indiana; Report Commissioned

    On Oct. 24, 2016, the Sixth Amendment Center released an important new study – The Right to Counsel in Indiana: Evaluation of Trial-Level Indigent Defense Services. As part of its public defense reform program, NACDL commissioned the Sixth Amendment Center to conduct an independent study of the state of public defense in Indiana and to produce this report. The report and recommendations were prepared primarily to aid in the work of the Indiana Indigent Defense Study Advisory Committee (IDSAC), which is composed of representatives from the Indiana Supreme Court, Indiana Legislature, State Bar Association, Public Defender Commission, Public Defender Council, Prosecuting Attorneys Council, Judges Association, and the Indiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

    Ivan J. Dominguez and Ezra Dunkle-Polier

  15. NACDL News: States Have Long Road Ahead to Ensure the Right to Counsel, New NACDL Report Finds

    On Oct. 26, 2016, NACDL released a report that surveys the standards set by each of the 50 states to provide counsel in criminal cases to those who cannot afford to pay for a lawyer. The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution requires each state to ensure the right to counsel in any criminal prosecution. Prepared by John P. Gross,  assistant professor of clinical legal education and director of the Criminal Defense Clinic at the University of Alabama School of Law, Representation in All Criminal Prosecutions: The Right to Counsel in State Courts examines how states have designed their public defense policies in light of Gideon v. Wainwright and other Supreme Court cases interpreting the Sixth Amendment’s mandate. This is the third report in NACDL’s series Gideon at 50: A Three-Part Examination of Public Defense in America.

    Ivan J. Dominguez and Ezra Dunkle-Polier

  16. State Criminal Justice Network - Legislative Update

    State Criminal Justice Network - Legislative Update - December 2016 Champion.

    Monica L. Reid and Angelyn C. Frazer-Giles

  17. The Commutation Legacy of President Barack Obama: Reflections on Clemency Project 2014 —The Legal Pr

    President Obama commuted the sentences of more inmates than the last 11 presidents combined. Many reformers expressed dismay at the president’s approach to clemency, but it cannot be denied that a little more than 1,000 people will be able to walk out of prison and start life anew. NACDL Executive Director Norman Reimer expresses his gratitude to the benefactors and volunteer lawyers who participated in this project to help individuals regain their freedom.

    Norman L. Reimer

  18. Understanding SEO, Websites and How to Establish an Online Presence

    Search engine optimization (SEO) — strategies to increase visitors to a website through high ranking placement in nonpaid search engine results — is a critical way for lawyers to increase their web traffic. Several options are available that allow lawyers to effectively use SEO to bring new potential clients to their websites. Should a law firm hire a national player, a local website designer, or someone who focuses on the legal niche for online marketing and search optimization? The authors discuss the pros and cons concerning the different options. In addition, they describe deceptive SEO sales pitches and explain ways to improve a law firm’s rank on the search engine results page.

    Jay Ruane, Brendan Ruane, Seth Price, and David Brenton