News Release

Nation's Criminal Defense Bar Joins Letter to U.S. Senators Concerning Attacks on DOJ Civil Rights Division Nominee Debo Adegbile

Washington, DC (March 13, 2014) – While the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) does not take positions on political nominees, NACDL does strongly deplore attacks on any attorney, including political nominees, arising out of the attorney’s representation of a client in a criminal matter. That, however, is precisely what happened in the case of Debo Adegbile, who was nominated for the position of Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the Department of Justice. NACDL today joined with the National Lawyers Guild, the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, and numerous other legal organizations to express profound disappointment in the attacks on Mr. Adegbile predicated on his appellate representation of former death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal.

As set forth in a letter, the text of which is available here, sent today to Senators who voted down Mr. Adegbile’s nomination last week, NACDL "object[s] to attempts to vilify attorneys such as Debo Adegbile, and the honorable work of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, as antithetical to the fundamental rights enshrined in our constitutional system. The Legal Defense Fund’s willingness to represent high-profile, and to some, unpopular, defendants demonstrates a respect for the rule of law."

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Ivan Dominguez, Director of Public Affairs and Communications (202) 465-7662 or

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.