Without checks and balances, fairness is elusive
Washington, DC ( June 3, 2003) -- In response to yesterday’s release of a report on the treatment of post-9/11 detainees by the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers president Lawrence Goldman issued the following statement:
“This is what happens when the checks and balances of a democratic system of justice-- the press, the courts, and lawyers for the accused--are excluded.
“Where normally scrutiny by the media, presentation of exculpatory information by defense counsel, and assessment of evidence by judges minimizes wrongful detentions, in this case the Justice Department fought all three oversight mechanisms tooth and nail. Instead, the DOJ asked the American people to trust it to do justice. Its own Inspector General’s report demonstrates that government in secret does not foster justice.
“The clear lesson is that the government, in its understandable and laudable resolve to protect our security, cannot be relied on to protect our basic rights and liberties. Public scrutiny and the protections of our court system are necessary to ensure elemental fairness.”
Goldman is a criminal defense lawyer in New York City. He can be reached at (212) 997-7499.
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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 justice system.