Washington, DC (January 6, 2015) – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted a rules change that will afford the House Judiciary Committee the opportunity to exercise its jurisdiction over any bill that proposes or modifies a new or existing criminal law or penalty.
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) President Theodore Simon said: "Today, we applaud the U.S. House of Representatives. This rule change adopted by the Republican leadership, enacted by the House, and supported by a bipartisan array of parties interested in meaningful reform of America's criminal justice system represents an important step toward addressing the problems of overcriminalization and the overfederalization of crime in America."
NACDL has long advocated for precisely this kind of reform in its efforts to combat overcriminalization and the overfederalization of crime. In a groundbreaking 2010 joint report – Without Intent: How Congress is Eroding the Criminal Intent Requirement in Federal Law – NACDL and Heritage recommended, among several other items, that in order to halt the erosion of the mens rea, or criminal intent, requirement in the federal law, an important procedural safeguard would be to "require adequate judiciary committee oversight of every bill proposing criminal offenses of penalties." And at the final hearing of the House Committee on the Judiciary's Overcriminalization Task Force on July 25, 2014, NACDL Past President Steven D. Benjamin reinforced this point in his hearing testimony on behalf of NACDL:
The positive impact of such a practice was documented in the Without Intent Report, which found a statistically significant positive correlation between the strength of a mens rea provision and Judiciary Committee action on a bill containing such a provision….Hopefully, such oversight would stem the tide of criminalization, result in clearer, more specific and high quality criminal offenses with meaningful criminal intent requirements, and would reduce the number of times criminal law-making authority would be delegated to unelected regulators.
In addition, in advance of yesterday's consideration of the rules by the House Republican Conference, a joint letter endorsing this change was submitted by: NACDL; Americans for Tax Reform; Cause of Action; The Constitution Project; James R. Copland, Director, Center for Legal Policy at the Manhattan Institute; Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM); Heritage Action for America; Mark Holden, General Counsel and Sr. Vice President, Koch Industries, Inc.; U.S. Chamber of Commerce; U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform; and Washington Legal Foundation.
For more information about NACDL's work in the area of overcriminalization, please visit www.nacdl.org/overcrim.
A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence: A Trial Practice Handbook for Criminal Defense Attorneys
This Guide to Federal Evidence is the only federal evidence handbook written exclusively for criminal defense lawyers. The Guide analyzes each Federal Rule of Evidence and outlines the main evidentiary issues that confront criminal defense lawyers. It also summarizes countless defense favorable cases and provides tips on how to avoid common evidentiary pitfalls. The Guide contains multiple user-friendly flowcharts aimed at helping the criminal defense lawyer tackle evidence problems. A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence is an indispensable tool in preparing a case for trial.
Modern Digital Evidence & Technologies in Criminal Cases
Modern cases need modern defenses, and modern lawyers can't practice with an outdated playbook. This program is a contemporary training that identifies emerging technologies and digital evidence encountered in today's criminal cases and arms you with the tools necessary to combat expert witnesses, prosecutorial overreach, and an uneducated judge and jury. This comprehensive CLE program covers both general aspects of new technologies as well as practical courtroom application and legal challenges to the use of these new technologies.
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If you are serious about being an effective DUI defense advocate, or if you’re considering adding DUI defenses to your portfolio, you need to know the latest scientific and legal strategies to optimize your success at trial. Learn from the best-of-the-best in the field in this unique CLE Program, updated for 2021.
Defending Modern Drug Cases (2021)
From challenging the arrest and seizure to picking a jury and cross-examining police officers, defense attorneys handling drug cases must be able to construct a defense that will increase the chances of the client getting a positive result for your client.
Effective motion practice, juror selection, and storytelling have never been more important. This seminar will introduce defense counsel to techniques that have been used at recent drug trials to rebut specific claims and overcome the emotion created in today’s criminal legal system.
Ivan J. Dominguez, NACDL Director of Public Affairs & Communications, (202) 465-7662 or email@example.com for more information.
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 legal system.