Washington, DC (June 10, 1999) --
The U.S. Supreme Court today unanimously agreed that using one suspect’s tape-recorded confession to help convict another suspect violates the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Lilly v. Virginia, 98-5881. Benjamin Lilly’s murder conviction and death sentence were reversed and returned to the Virginia courts to consider whether the constitutional violation was “harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.” The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) filed a friend of the court brief urging such a decision.
NACDL President Larry Pozner issued the following statement from his office in Denver today:
“In Virginia, as elsewhere, capital murder prosecutions often involve multiple suspects. Very often, one suspect will talk to the police, trying to shift the blame to someone else as the ‘triggerman’ deserving of the ultimate penalty. These statements are given to officers who have no independent corroborating information and little interest in obtaining it. Prosecutors then try to use such accusations to obtain convictions and death sentences. But where the accuser is not in court to be confronted and cross-examined by the defendant — and observed personally by the jury — the basic premise of our adversary system is destroyed. Using a police station ‘confession’ by one suspect accusing another is a convenient short-cut for prosecutors racking up death sentences, but it’s a blatant violation of America’s fundamental constitutional rights, as the Court properly recognized.”
A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence: A Trial Practice Handbook for Criminal Defense Attorneys
This Guide to Federal Evidence is the only federal evidence handbook written exclusively for criminal defense lawyers. The Guide analyzes each Federal Rule of Evidence and outlines the main evidentiary issues that confront criminal defense lawyers. It also summarizes countless defense favorable cases and provides tips on how to avoid common evidentiary pitfalls. The Guide contains multiple user-friendly flowcharts aimed at helping the criminal defense lawyer tackle evidence problems. A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence is an indispensable tool in preparing a case for trial.
Modern Digital Evidence & Technologies in Criminal Cases
Modern cases need modern defenses, and modern lawyers can't practice with an outdated playbook. This program is a contemporary training that identifies emerging technologies and digital evidence encountered in today's criminal cases and arms you with the tools necessary to combat expert witnesses, prosecutorial overreach, and an uneducated judge and jury. This comprehensive CLE program covers both general aspects of new technologies as well as practical courtroom application and legal challenges to the use of these new technologies.
Top Shelf DUI Defenses: The Law, The Science, The Techniques (2021)
If you are serious about being an effective DUI defense advocate, or if you’re considering adding DUI defenses to your portfolio, you need to know the latest scientific and legal strategies to optimize your success at trial. Learn from the best-of-the-best in the field in this unique CLE Program, updated for 2021.
Defending Modern Drug Cases (2021)
From challenging the arrest and seizure to picking a jury and cross-examining police officers, defense attorneys handling drug cases must be able to construct a defense that will increase the chances of the client getting a positive result for your client.
Effective motion practice, juror selection, and storytelling have never been more important. This seminar will introduce defense counsel to techniques that have been used at recent drug trials to rebut specific claims and overcome the emotion created in today’s criminal legal system.
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.