Washington, DC (August 12, 2013) – In an important policy speech delivered today in San Francisco at the Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder articulated a welcome vision for reforming America’s broken criminal justice system. In his address, Attorney General Holder spoke to numerous policy reform priorities concerning which the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) has invested tremendous research and advocacy over the years, including its work with the Department of Justice.
NACDL President Jerry J. Cox said: “We look forward to learning more details from the Department of Justice concerning the vision articulated today by Attorney General Holder for a wholesale, top-to-bottom reform of the American criminal justice system. Attorney General Holder said that he expects that there will be ‘setbacks and false starts’ and that he will encounter ‘resistance and opposition.’ NACDL vows to carefully scrutinize the development and implementation of the vision articulated today by America’s chief law enforcement officer in an effort to ensure that he achieves the grand vision suggested in his remarks today to the American Bar Association. The defense bar stands prepared to help facilitate in every way this long-overdue reform to America’s broken justice system.”
The general vision the Attorney General described in his remarks today included such reform agenda items as the need to expand indigent defense programs and funding, reduce racial disparities in our criminal justice system, reform mandatory minimum sentencing regimes and charging guidelines, expand compassionate release, sensibly tackle issues related to juvenile justice and low-level, non-violent drug offenders, study and identify best practices for the use of diversion programs as alternatives to incarceration, focus on prevention and reentry issues, eliminate the unnecessary collateral consequences of conviction, and in general “to bring state leaders, local stakeholders, private partners, and federal officials together to comprehensively reform corrections and criminal justice practices.”
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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.