News Release

Goldstein testifies of denied access to client, leading to government waste of time and resources

NACDL past president speaks at USA PATRIOT Act hearings 

Click here for Mr. Goldstein's testimony

Washington, DC (2001, exact date unknown) -- Federal authorities, in denying attorneys access to post-9/11 detainees, potentially tainted prosecutions of guilty suspects and missed opportunities to efficiently clear innocents, according to testimony by a past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers before the Senate Judiciary Committee today.

Gerald Goldstein, a San Antonio criminal defense lawyer who served as president of NACDL from 1994 to 1995, was retained to represent Dr. Al-Badr Al Hazmi, a fifth-year radiology resident at a University of Texas health facility in San Antonio. Al Hazmi was arrested in the early morning hours of September 12, and released on September 24 after being cleared.

Goldstein's written testimony details the denial of Al Hazmi's requests to speak to counsel, as well as the refusal by authorities to reveal to counsel Al Hazmi's detention location. After being transferred to a detention facility in Manhattan, Al Hazmi was denied, for a time, a chance to meet with New York co-counsel retained by Goldstein's firm, purportedly because the court had appointed other counsel.

In addition to the constitutional issues raised by denial of counsel of choice and by continued interrogations without counsel, Goldstein's testimony points out a practical reason for the government to follow the law: "By denying Dr. Al Hazmi access to his retained counsel, Federal law enforcement officials not only violated my client's rights, they deprived themselves of valuable information and documentation that would have eliminated many of their concerns," said Goldstein. "Their obstructionism prolonged the investigative process, wasting valuable time and precious resources."

Gerald Goldstein can be reached at (210)861-1900. His written testimony is available at www.nacdl.org, under the News and Issues section by clicking the Fighting Terrorism/Protecting Liberty icon. 

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The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.