Legislative Move Stalls Federal Suit
Richmond, VA (February 1, 2006) – The Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers held a news conference at the Capitol Building in Richmond today to announce a possible legislative compromise to the decades-old problem of caps on court-appointed lawyer fees criminal cases. The lawyers’ associations, and their counsel, the D.C., law firm of Covington and Burling were prepared to file a suit in federal court today challenging the way attorneys for indigent criminal defendants are paid in the state.
Steven Benjamin, who sits on NACDL’s Board of Directors and is Co-Chair of the Association’s Indigent Defense Committee, made this statement in an e-mail to the national office in Washington:
“Several weeks ago, as Co-Chair of the NACDL Indigent Defense Committee, I met with the Board of VACDL, our Virginia affiliate, and obtained the Board's support for a federal class action lawsuit that NACDL intended to file in late January in U.S. District Court in Richmond, Virginia. I also advised the Board that Senator Ken Stolle (R-Va. Beach) and Delegate Dave Albo, (R-Fairfax), Chairs of the Senate and House Courts Committees, had agreed to file and support legislation that would remove the caps and pay court-appointed lawyers on an hourly basis.
“The lawsuit is ready to go. It seeks declaratory relief that the caps are unconstitutional, and injunctive relief from their enforcement. The suit was to be filed during the last week of January. It was during this period that our attorneys, Covington & Burling, and NACDL Indigent Defense Counsel, Malia Brink, were in negotiations with Richard Cullen, a former U.S. Attorney and former Va. Attorney General, and other concerned individuals whose support and influence were calculated to be of significant help to our efforts. Ultimately, on the excellent advice of counsel, NACDL decided to delay the immediate filing of this suit. I want to emphasize that it is in our hands and ready to go the moment it becomes unavoidable, and I agree that it has appeared to be unavoidable for many years. Currently, however, we are adopting the posture that we feel is best designed to obtain our goal of removing these caps at long last.”
Statements on this matter by former Virginia Attorneys General Richard Cullen and William G. Broaddus, of the Richmond firm McGuire Woods, and the law firm of Covington & Burling, and a case summary and fact sheet, are on NACDL’s Indigent Defense Web page.
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.
Top Shelf DUI Defenses: The Law, The Science, The Techniques (2021)
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.
NACDL Communications Department
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.