January/February 2017

January/February 2017 Cover

How can the defense team insulate and isolate favorable jurors in a death penalty case? (Cover Illustration: © San Francisco-based artist Matt J. Carter)


Articles in this Issue

  1. Affiliate News

    Affiliate News for January-February 2017 Champion.

    Gerald Lippert

  2. Capital Jury Selection: The Minimum Standards for Effective Counsel

    Selecting a jury for a client facing the death penalty presents challenges different from other types of cases. The challenges are exacerbated by the fact that when it comes to understanding jury instructions, jurors’ comprehension level is alarmingly low. Capital defender Natman Schaye explains how to describe the jury selection process to potential jurors, identify and rate jurors based on death penalty views, and insulate and isolate favorable jurors.

    Natman Schaye

  3. From the President: Self-Representation and the Role of Standby Counsel

    When the court appoints standby counsel, should the court limit the role of standby counsel to a consultative one, as the court did in the Dylann Roof case?

    Barry J. Pollack

  4. Getting Scholarship Into Court Project

    Getting Scholarship Into Court Project for January-February 2017 Champion.

    Getting Scholarship Into Court Project

  5. How Foster Can Be Useful to Defense Attorneys

    Foster v. Chatman stands for the unremarkable principle that, under Batson v. Kentucky, a prosecutor’s purported race-neutral reasons for strikes will not be credited when the prosecutor’s file notes demonstrate a concerted effort to keep black prospective jurors off the jury. However, Foster has the potential to do more than remind defense attorneys and advocates working for justice system reform that Batson is still good law. 

    Nina W. Chernoff

  6. Inside NACDL: The Synergy Between Policy Advocacy and Litigation - A Dismissed Traffic Ticket Can Be

    What does a message on Facebook concerning a dismissed traffic ticket have to do with collateral consequences and inadequate intent requirements?

    Norman L. Reimer

  7. Legally Indefensible: Requiring Death Row Prisoners to Prove Available Execution Alternatives

    The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected Eighth Amendment challenges to state lethal injection procedures, concluding that the condemned prisoners failed to show that the execution process in their states posed sufficient risks of pain and suffering to be deemed cruel and unusual punishment. In addition, the Court added to this burden a requirement that prisoners identify a known and available alternative method of execution that entails a lesser risk of pain than the challenged procedure. The requirement that petitioners proffer and prove an alternative method may turn out to be unworkable. If a condemned prisoner is ever to meet this standard, he must have access to relevant information regarding the department of correction’s execution protocol, other procedures considered but rejected, and the department’s capacity to perform other procedures. This information is largely unavailable because of the secrecy that surrounds execution procedures.

    Megan McCracken

  8. Movie Review: Moonlight

    In the film Moonlight, we follow the life of Chiron, a little boy who is black, gay, and poor. “Who is you, Chiron?” is a question put to this child and to us, a question that transcends race, sexuality, and class. Chiron lives in the projects in Liberty City (Miami) with his crack-addict mom. He has to guard against bullies. He knows his sexual identity but is unsure of how to treat it. He aches for love from someone, anyone. As a mother and a lawyer, I wanted to hold this child in my arms. Moonlight is just that — an embrace set to piano and strings.

    Sejal H. Patel

  9. NACDL News: At the Supreme Court: A Swearing-In Ceremony for NACDL Members

    NACDL members gathered on Jan. 9, 2017, in the nation’s capital at the U.S. Supreme Court for NACDL’s group admissions ceremony.

    Ivan J. Dominguez and Ezra Dunkle-Polier

  10. NACDL News: DC Circuit Denies Rehearing and En Banc Review, Modifies Opinion and Remands in NACDL Su

    On Dec. 20, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit denied NACDL’s petition both for a rehearing and en banc review following the July 19, 2016, decision of a three-judge panel of that court in National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers v. U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for United States Attorneys and U.S. Department of Justice.

    Ivan J. Dominguez and Ezra Dunkle-Polier

  11. NACDL News: Department of Justice Files Yet Another Important Statement of Interest

    Stinnie v. Holcomb is a class action lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia challenging the constitutionality of Virginia’s alleged practice of automatically suspending driver’s licenses for failure to pay court debts.

    Diane Price

  12. NACDL News: Just in Time for the Holidays, President Obama Announces 153 Commutations; Total Grants

    On Dec. 19, 2016, President Obama announced 153 grants of commutation. Of those 153 grants, 82 were in cases supported by Clemency Project 2014. That brings the total number of commutations granted by President Obama to date to 1,176, of which 605 were supported by Clemency Project 2014.

    Ivan J. Dominguez and Ezra Dunkle-Polier

  13. NACDL News: NACDL Releases Pretrial Justice Manual for New Jersey Practitioners; Additional States F

    In partnership with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ) and the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender (NJ OPD), and with grant support from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, on Dec. 13, 2016, NACDL released The New Jersey Pretrial Justice Manual in an effort to support New Jersey attorneys as they work to end pretrial injustice in the state.

    Ivan J. Dominguez and Ezra Dunkle-Polier

  14. NACDL News: NACDL Welcomes Inaugural Tiffany May Joslyn White Collar Crime Policy Intern

    NACDL welcomes Kaitlin Bigger as the inaugural Tiffany May Joslyn White Collar Crime Policy intern.

    Mario Meeks

  15. NACDL News: Past President John Wesley Hall Receives Al Horn Memorial Award From NORML

    John Wesley Hall, a past president of NACDL, received the Al Horn Memorial Award from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) National Legal Committee on Dec. 10, 2016. He was presented with the award at NORML’s annual dinner at the Pier House in Key West, Florida. The Al Horn Memorial Award is presented annually to a NORML Legal Committee member in recognition of his or her “lifetime of ceaseless work to advance the cause of justice and for their extraordinary support for NORML.”

    Ivan J. Dominguez and Ezra Dunkle-Polier

  16. NACDL® 2017 Election Procedures

    NACDL® 2017 Election Procedures.


  17. State Assessments of the Death Penalty: Effective Tools for Reform and for Capital Defenders

    Many capital defense attorneys know and use research that examined the death penalty on the national level, but some do not appreciate the impact and value of single state examinations on capital punishment in their advocacy. National reviews are not always focused or specific enough to draw the attention of state legislators, governors, and judges. Stakeholders are more likely to act on findings unique to their state.

    Misty C. Thomas

  18. State Criminal Justice Network - Legislative Update

    Court decisions in 2016 had an impact on death penalty systems in Florida, Arizona, Delaware, Oklahoma, and Alabama.

    Monica L. reid and Angelyn C. Frazer-Giles