Washington, DC (December 9, 2014) – At an event this morning at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) officially joined in the launch of the "90 Million Strong Campaign" against the death penalty in America. Organized by the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (NCADP), the campaign's goal is to bring together the millions of Americans who believe the death penalty is wrong, but who have not yet taken action to abolish it. The campaign seeks to build upon the growing momentum away from capital punishment – 31 states and the District of Columbia either do not have the death penalty or have not executed an individual in the past five years and six states have abolished the death penalty over the past decade.
NACDL has long advocated for an immediate end to the death penalty on numerous grounds. Following a wave of exonerations of individuals on death row – more than 149 since 1973 – continued use of the death penalty is unconscionable. This point was underscored in 2014, with a series of botched executions in Arizona, Ohio, and Oklahoma.
Speaking at the launch event, NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer said: "The practice of government-sponsored execution has no place in any civilized criminal justice system. No one knows better than defense lawyers that the criminal justice system is fallible. It is rife with human error at every stage, and it perpetuates racial and ethnic disparity. We simply cannot allow such a system to engage in the taking of human life."
In joining the NCADP's 90 Million Strong campaign, NACDL is uniting with a number of other civil rights, religious, human rights, and libertarian organizations. Representatives of several of these organizations, including the NAACP, the Alliance for Justice, Amnesty International USA, Sojurners, and the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism spoke at Tuesday's launch, as did NCADP Executive Director Diann Rust-Tierney.
More information about the 90 Million Strong Campaign Against the Death Penalty, including how to join can be found at http://www.90millionstrong.org/.
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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.