State and federal criminal defense associations oppose confirmation of Utah professor to federal bench
Washington, DC (March 20, 2002) -- Echoing the concerns of its Utah affiliate, as well as academics and other civil liberties groups, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers has expressed its opposition to the confirmation of University of Utah law professor Paul Cassell as federal district judge in Utah.
In a March 18 letter to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, NACDL President Irwin Schwartz expresses concern not only over Cassell's history of advocating positions detrimental to criminal justice and the rights of the accused, but his methods in doing so.
"In pursuing his one-sided criminal justice agenda, Professor Cassell has drawn criticism from his peers for intellectual dishonesty and statistical manipulation," said Schwartz. Cassell has been repeatedly criticized in particular for his conclusions on the effect of the Miranda warning on the solving of crimes and for his insistence that the capital punishment system in the U.S. is accurate, despite reversals in approximately two-thirds of cases.
Schwartz also pointed out the concerns of Utah criminal defense lawyers who are familiar with Cassell that "question his ability to provide a fair hearing--free from bias--for those who must appear before him in court on a criminal matter."
Cassell appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday. A vote on his nomination has not yet been set.
Irwin Schwartz is a criminal defense lawyer in Seattle. He can be reached at (206) 623-5084 (office).
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