News Release

Decision to prosecute in civilian court shows faith in system; indications of forum-shopping cause concern

Terrorism to be exposed to world opinion  

Washington, DC (2001, exact date unknown) -- In response to the Justice Department''s announcement of an indictment against Zacarias Moussaoui, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers President Irwin Schwartz issued the following statement:

"We are heartened to see that the first prosecution related to the September 11 attacks is in civilian court where it should be. It is an opportunity for America to show its true colors and to expose terrorism to the world through open and fair proceedings.

"At the same time, we are disheartened by indications that the venue for the prosecution was chosen by the Justice Department in hopes of finding jurors most likely to return a death sentence. International cooperation is essential to the war on terrorism, and international sentiment is overwhelmingly opposed to the death penalty. Death penalty forum shopping will discourage that cooperation and diminish America''s stature as a leader of nations."

Schwartz is a criminal defense lawyer in Seattle. He can be reached at (206) 623-5084 (office).

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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.