Washington, DC (May 24, 2016) – Yesterday, in its 7 to 1 judgment in Foster v. Chatman (14-8349), the U.S. Supreme Court found that prosecutors violated the Constitution in the 1987 capital case against Timothy T. Foster, an African-American man accused of killing a white woman, when they struck every prospective black juror from the pool. The 1986 Supreme Court case of Batson v. Kentucky (84-6263) held that "peremptory strikes," or strikes of jury pool members without an articulated reason, are unconstitutional if race is the motive. In Foster, documents came to light decades after the trial showing that prosecutors in Mr. Foster's case had kept specific notes identifying and ranking prospective black jurors.
"What the prosecutor's office did in Mr. Foster's case rightly shocks the conscience for its blatant disregard of core constitutional protections that must be afforded to all who are accused of a crime in this country," said National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) President E.G. "Gerry" Morris. "For nearly 30 years, Mr. Foster has served on Georgia's death row, sent there by an illegally constituted jury. It's not often that prosecutors create, and defense counsel is able to secure, demonstrable evidence of Batson violations, as here. This case serves as a powerful reminder of just one of the many ways in which the rights of the accused, and the integrity of the criminal process, can be compromised. Taken together with scores of exonerations, not to mention ghoulish and all-too-frequently grotesque execution protocols with secretly obtained lethal concoctions, it is further proof of the unacceptability of capital punishment in an advanced and civilized criminal justice system. The abolition of the death penalty is long overdue, as is abundantly clear by the continuing collapse of the case for it."
Eighteen states, plus the District of Columbia, have abolished capital punishment, according to the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC). Since 1976, approximately 1,436 people have been executed in the United States. Since 1973, the DPIC reports that "more than 150 people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence." And in 2015, as in each of the last nearly ten years, the United States was in the top five countries of the world with the most confirmed executions, a list which often includes nations such as China, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.
NACDL has long and steadfastly called for the abolition of the death penalty in the United States. To learn more about NACDL's work to abolish the death penalty, please visit http://www.nacdl.org/criminal-defense/death-penalty/.
Cross-Examination Trial Pack
NACDL’s new Cross-Examination Trial Pack includes three of our best-selling Cross-Examination resources: “Damage Control: Situational Cross-Examination Techniques Trial Guide”, "Ultimate Cross 2.0: Audio Recordings & Written Materials" and "Sample Cross-Examination Questions."
This masterful collection of cross-examination resources provide countless tips, techniques and strategies for a variety of criminal case-specific scenarios. Learn to cross-examine a variety of trial witnesses!
Death Investigation: Forensic Pathology in the Courtroom and Cause & Manner of Death (2022)
This unique program provides criminal defense lawyers with an accurate and clear overview of forensic pathology and the countless factors to consider in a death investigation and will methodically explain what happens during an autopsy to determine cause and manner of death.
You'll uncover the different types of medicolegal death investigations, what to request from your MDI expert, quality benchmarks for accreditation and certification, guidelines and standards, common terminology and frequently asked questions.
The Psychology of Persuasion & Storytelling for Criminal Defense Lawyers
This Trial Resource Guide is a masterful collection of practical tips, techniques and strategies focused solely on using the arts and sciences of persuasion to improve your storytelling skills at trial.
You'll learn how to master the ability to communicate with juries, deliver powerful openings and closings, perform convincing cross-examinations, use effective courtroom choreography and non-verbal communication, identify and develop the optimal theme and theory for your case, and offer compelling arguments during mitigation and sentencing.
Zealous Advocacy in Sexual Assault & Child Victims Cases (2022)
Defending charges of sexual assault and child abuse can be daunting — but with the right tools, it doesn’t have to be.
Every year, NACDL identifies the hottest topics and most pressing issues when defending these cases, and brings-in nationally-renowned lawyers and experts to help you prepare for battle. This year’s 13th Annual Defending Sex Cases training program is our best yet; packed with topics and speakers you won’t want to miss!
Ivan J. Dominguez, NACDL Director of Public Affairs & Communications, (202) 465-7662 or firstname.lastname@example.org 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.