May 2021

May 2021 Cover

How can defense counsel impeach the jailhouse informant and educate jurors on the dangers of this type of testimony?


Articles in this Issue

  1. Affiliate News

    What events are NACDL affiliates hosting this month? Find out here.

    Gerald Lippert

  2. Book Review: American Prison by Shane Bauer

    This month Susan Elizabeth Reese reviews American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey Into the Business of Punishment by Shane Bauer.

    Susan Elizabeth Reese

  3. Book Review: Gideon’s Promise by Jonathan Rapping

    This month David Patton reviews Gideon’s Promise: A Public Defender Movement to Transform Criminal Justice by Jonathan Rapping.

    David Patton

  4. Book Review: Social Work, Criminal Justice and the Death Penalty Edited by Lauren A. Ricciardelli

    This month Dana L. Cook reviews Social Work, Criminal Justice and the Death Penalty by Lauren A. Ricciardelli (ed.).

    Dana L. Cook, MSW

  5. Book Review: Why the Innocent Plead Guilty and the Guilty Go Free By Jed S. Rakoff

    This month the Honorable John L. Kane reviews Why the Innocent Plead Guilty and the Guilty Go Free: And Other Paradoxes of Our Broken Legal System by Jed S. Rakoff.

    Hon. John L. Kane

  6. Capital Investigation One Year Into the Pandemic: When Field Work Can Resume

    (And Why That Day Is Not Yet Here)

    Now that millions of Americans have been fully vaccinated, can capital defense teams restart their investigations? What are the benchmarks for when capital trial teams can and should resume in-person visitation with clients, in-person expert visits, and field investigation with in-person witness interviews?

    Cassandra Stubbs and Elizabeth Vartkessian

  7. Challenges of Voir Dire in a White Collar Case

    Attorneys representing white collar defendants face substantial challenges during voir dire. What are the standard topics and specific questions that the defense should cover?

    Hank Asbill and Nadav Ariel

  8. DWI: What Pilots and Their DWI Lawyers Need to Know

    About How an Aviation Medical Examiner Can Help with the FAA

    If an aviator is charged with DWI, the best way to overcome a medical deferment is to hire both an Aviation Medical Examiner and a lawyer experienced in FAA matters.

    Arthur T. Hadley, M.D. and J. Gary Trichter, J.D.

  9. From the President: Emerging From COVID: The New Frontier

    Defense lawyers and their clients will face challenges as courts begin to reopen after the coronavirus pandemic.

    Chris Adams

  10. Getting Scholarship Into Court Project

    The “Getting Scholarship Into Court Project” brings helpful law review articles and other writings to the attention of criminal defense attorneys. The project’s purpose is to identify scholarship that will be especially useful to courts and practitioners. Summarized on this page are articles the project’s advisory board recommends that practicing lawyers take the time to read. To recommend articles for this column, contact Professor Jenny Carroll (

    Getting Scholarship Into Court Project

  11. Inside NACDL: Overcriminalization: Bipartisan Hypocrisy

    The Election Integrity Act passed by Georgia contains numerous textbook examples of overcriminalization.

    Norman L. Reimer

  12. Jailhouse Informants

    One might think that the link between jailhouse informant testimony/wrongful convictions and the magnitude of the incentives offered to jailhouse informants would be enough to neutralize informants in the eyes of the jury. On the contrary, jailhouse informant testimony is persuasive to jurors. The defense must find a way to impeach the jailhouse informant and educate jurors on the dangers of this type of testimony.

    Jeffrey Neuschatz, Brian Cutler, and Stacy Wetmore

  13. The § 2D1.1 Weapon Enhancement and the Safety Valve

    Receiving the Former Does Not Necessarily Exclude the Latter

    A defendant who is assessed the gun enhancement pursuant to the Sentencing Guidelines may still receive the benefits of the safety valve. It is up to defense counsel to know the different standards of proof and offer a sufficient argument to show that both can be applicable.

    Todd Duncan