News Release

Comments lead criminal defense bar to oppose nomination of Alabama AG to federal bench

Appeals ‘crucial only for Monday-morning quarterbacks’ 

Washington, DC (June 11, 2003) -- The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers has voiced its opposition to the nomination of Alabama Attorney General William Pryor to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

In a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and ranking Democratic member Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), NACDL President Lawrence Goldman expressed concern that Pryor’s stated views on the capital punishment system “bear directly on [his] ability to impartially consider direct and collateral appeals in death penalty cases.”

For instance, according to the letter, Pryor, in response to the Judiciary Committee’s follow-up questions after his testimony on the Innocence Protection Act, stated that appeals “are crucial only for Monday-morning quarterbacks who try to second-guess things and create issues that are probably not real in the first place.”

The letter also cites Pryor’s obliviousness to problems with Alabama’s death penalty system, where more than one-fifth of defendants lack counsel for collateral review, and his disrespectful remarks directed at the U.S. Supreme Court.

To read full text of letter, click here.

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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.