May 2024

May 2024 Cover

In a DUI case, what are defense attorneys looking for when they review body-worn camera footage? What are non-eyewitness identifications, and how do courts treat them? Get the answers in this issue of The Champion.


Articles in this Issue

  1. Affiliate News

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

    Jessica Stepan

  2. Book Review: Justice at Trial by James J. Brosnahan

    This month Dan Lawton reviews Justice at Trial: Courtroom Battles and Groundbreaking Cases by James J. Brosnahan.

    Dan Lawton

  3. Book Review: Renegade for Justice by Stephen Lee Saltonstall

    This month Susan Elizabeth Reese reviews Renegade for Justice: Defending the Defenseless in an Outlaw World by Stephen Lee Saltonstall.

    Susan Elizabeth Reese

  4. Closing the Back Door to Federal Prison

    The Honorable Stefan Underhill argues that the federal supervised release system violates constitutional protections guaranteed in the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. How? When defendants violate a condition of supervised release, they can face a felony-term of imprisonment and not be accorded the right to indictment, the right to jury trial, the requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and the right to confront adverse witnesses. He urges defense lawyers to raise this issue in the district court and preserve it for appeal.

    Stefan R. Underhill

  5. From the President: When Trump Is on Trial, So Is the Rule of Law

    Michael Heiskell says that “when Donald Trump is on trial, so is the rule of law.” The legal proceedings involving Trump serve as a reminder of defense lawyers’ vital role as constitutional warriors who are essential to the sustainability and survival of the legal system.

    Michael P. Heiskell

  6. How to Provide Counsel at First Appearance: Advice from Defenders Who Made It Work

    Despite the evidentiary support for counsel at first appearance (CAFA), not all local officials are persuaded of its benefits. Trisha Trigilio summarizes wisdom from defenders who have implemented boundary-pushing CAFA and early representation programs without a statewide mandate or court order.

    Trisha Trigilio

  7. In Tribute: Justice, Hope, and Ephraim Margolin

    Quintin Chatman reflects on the life and influence of Ephraim Margolin.

    Quintin Chatman

  8. Perspective: It Is Time to Rethink Our Relationship to Prisons

    For incarcerated people, the conclusion of court-based litigation usually signals the end of all relationships with attorneys. However, people sentenced to a term of imprisonment continue to need lawyers. For example, they need assistance when corrections officials miscalculate their sentencing credit, and they need help seeking release when physical or cognitive decline leaves them disabled or on the brink of death.

    Jennifer Soble

  9. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Dealing with Body-Worn Camera Footage in a DUI Case

    Body-worn cameras have diminished what defense counsel can do to minimize the adverse effects of poor performance on field sobriety tests. In addition, poor video performance calls into doubt defenses commonly raised regarding breath testing. Originally introduced for the protection of the police, body-worn cameras are here to stay and bound to improve. Competent representation of people charged with alcohol-related operating offenses requires counsel to be aware of the various strategies that can be pursued when a client’s case includes the ever-present and ofttimes damning electronic eye.

    Edward L. Fiandach

  10. The Witness Who Was Not There: Challenging the Reliability of Identifications Made from Images

    Imagine that a security camera video shows someone committing a robbery. The “witness” does not see it live but only views the video and then identifies the perpetrator. Called a “non-eyewitness identification,” this identification is a departure from a traditional eyewitness identification because it allows a person who was not at the scene and did not observe the event to put forward an opinion about what a video depicts. How can advocates prevent judges from admitting the less reliable non-eyewitness identifications into evidence?

    Tamar Lerer and Kathy Pezdek