Washington, DC (November 14, 2007) – A rare indictment of a criminal defense lawyer on misdemeanor grand jury tampering charges was dismissed today following a short hearing. NACDL member Deborah Wyatt, of Charlottesville, VA, had been under indictment since 2005 on five counts of “embracery,” an ancient common law misdemeanor, because of her efforts to get an Albemarle County grand jury to hear exculpatory evidence she wished to provide on behalf of a client. The indictment was finally unsealed last week.
Wyatt was represented by noted criminal defense lawyer John K. Zwerling, of Alexandria. She also had the support of the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Association of Criminal Defense lawyers through attorney Alan Silber of Roseland, NJ, who argued on Wyatt’s behalf as counsel for the associations’ Lawyers Assistance Strike Force committees. University of Virginia law professor Earle C. Dudley was also on the brief supporting the dismissal motion.
NACDL President Carmen D. Hernandez congratulated Wyatt and her defense team by telephone from a demonstration march in Washington, where she and hundreds of other lawyers gathered outside the Supreme Court in support of unlawfully detained lawyers and judges in Pakistan.
“It’s good to see they still have the rule of law in Virginia,” she said. “NACDL supports lawyers under attack, here at home and overseas. We fight for those who fight for justice for all.”
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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.