News Release

Mexican President Fox to receive award from NACDL for advocacy against death penalty

Subsecretary for Human Rights and Democracy to accept on his behalf 

Washington, DC (February 20, 2003) -- The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers will present its Champion of Justice award to Mexican President Vicente Fox at a ceremony tomorrow during its annual Spring Meeting, being held this year in Cancun, Mexico. Subsecretary for Human Rights and Democracy Mariclaire Acosta will travel to Cancun to accept the award on Fox’s behalf.

Sandra Babcock, an NACDL member who serves as chief counsel for the Mexican government in cases seeking to convince the United States to honor international due process rights in death penalty cases, said Fox deserves the award. “President Fox has done more than any other world leader to promote respect for international law in the imposition of the death penalty. His most impressive achievement of all was undoubtedly his decision to take the cases of all 51 Mexican nationals on death row to the International Court of Justice.”

Lawrence Goldman, president of NACDL, will present the award. The ceremony will take place at 11:30 a.m. local time at the Melia Cancun Beach & Spa Resort, the site of the NACDL conference and seminar. Speakers at the seminar, which continues through Saturday morning, include Todd Foster, who represented Steven and Marlene Aisenberg in criminal and civil cases related to the disappearance of their daughter, and Louis Sirkin, lead counsel in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, decided last term by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Previous recipients of the Champion of Justice award include Illinois Governor George Ryan, death penalty activists Bianca Jagger and Sister Helen Prejean, U.S. Representatives Barney Frank and John D. Conyers, Jr., and journalists Molly Ivins, Bob Herbert, and Maurice Possley. 

To read Acosta's acceptance speech, click here.

Click here for a picture of Acosta and NACDL President Larry Goldman.

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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.