Washington, DC (Dec. 17, 2014) – President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of eight federal prisoners, and pardoned 12 others on Wednesday. These mark the first commutations the President has granted since the U.S. Department of Justice announced its clemency initiative in April of 2014.
"We commend President Obama for keeping his promise to provide relief for federal prisoners serving excessively long sentences; terms of imprisonment they would not receive if sentenced today," said Cynthia W. Roseberry, project manager for Clemency Project 2014. "Federal sentencing laws and policies have changed, and the country has changed, but thousands of federal prisoners remain incarcerated under antiquated laws and ways of thinking about crime. We urge the President to commute more of the unjust sentences faced by federal prisoners."
Clemency Project 2014 is a working group composed of lawyers and advocates including the Federal Defenders, the American Civil Liberties Union, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the American Bar Association, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, as well as individuals active within those organizations. It launched in January, after Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole asked the legal profession to provide pro bono assistance to federal prisoners who would likely have received a shorter sentence if they had been sentenced today.
According to the criteria released by the Justice Department, prisoners must be:
- currently serving a federal sentence in prison and, by operation of law, likely would have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of the same offense(s) today;
- have a non-violent history with no significant ties to organized crime, gangs or cartels;
- have served at least 10 years;
- have no significant prior convictions;
- have demonstrated good conduct in prison; and
- have no history of violence prior to or during their current term of imprisonment.
Clemency Project 2014 is recruiting and training attorneys on an ongoing, on demand basis on how to screen for prisoners who meet the criteria listed above and assist them in preparing commutation petitions. Several hundred lawyers have volunteered to assist prisoners and are reviewing more than 26,000 requests from prisoners who have asked Clemency Project 2014 for assistance.
For more information and to volunteer for Clemency Project 2014, please visit www.clemencyproject2014.org.
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.
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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 legal system.