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Showing 1 - 15 of 811 results

    • Brief

    United States v. Ravenell

    Motion for Leave to File Amicus Curiae Brief on Behalf off the National Association of Criminal Defense  Lawyers in Support of Appellant’s Petition for Rehearing en Banc


    Argument: On appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, NACDL’s Amicus Brief is in Support of a Petition for Rehearing En Banc. Issue: The issue raised is the court’s refusal to instruct on a statute of limitations defense, which seriously impaired Ravenell’s ability to present his defense, resulted in the denial of the constitutional right to have a jury decide if the government has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the prosecution does not violate the statute of limitations. The panel found the district court need not instruct the jury on a statute of limitations defense timely raised by the defendant. NACDL argues that the panel majority failed to protect the rights of the accused and undermined the fundamental protections of our criminal justice system when it concluded that a district court need not instruct a jury on a statute-of-limitations defense and also improperly substituted its own evaluation of the trial evidence for that of the jury. If the panel majority’s decision, which conflicts with Supreme Court and Fourth Circuit precedent, is not corrected it will adversely affect criminal defendants in the future and undermine the fair administration of justice in criminal cases within the Circuit: the denial of the constitutional right to have a jury decide if the government has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the prosecution does not violate the statute of limitations.

    • Brief

    United States v. James Johnson

    Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and American Civil Liberties Union Foundation as Amici Curiae In Support of Appellant


    Argument: NACDL and the ACLU Foundation filed a joint amicus brief addressing how courts should implement during jury selection an informed understanding of implicit (or “unconscious”) racial bias.  In a case in which the defendant and his trial counsel are African American, the district court struck for cause a prospective juror who said race would “impact” her deliberations in that she would scrutinize her thinking for the effects of “inherent bias.”  While recognizing that jurors should examine their own thinking for the effects of unconscious bias, the court thought that examining witness testimony for its effects would be improper.  Believing the juror would do both, the judge granted the government’s for-cause challenge.  That ruling restricted a fundamental jury function:  weighing bias in assessing witness credibility.  Barring consideration of racial bias in particular threatens the accused’s rights to an impartial jury and fair trial.  The ruling also undermines public confidence in the criminal legal system and the rights of diverse jurors to serve as jurors.  
     
    Mateo de la Torre of King & Spalding LLP was the volunteer author, with input from colleagues Jamie Dycus and Craig Carpenito.  Claudia Van Wyk, Staff Attorney at the ACLU’s Death Penalty Project, contributed substantial research and drafting.  MartĂ­n Sabelli and Lisa Mathewson were on the brief for NACDL.  Mr. Johnson is represented on appeal by Renee Pietropaolo of the Federal Public Defenders Office (W.D. Pa.).  The case is United States v. James Johnson, No. 22-2845 (3d Cir.).  
     

    • Content Page

    United States v. Chatrie, No. 3:19-cr-130 (E.D. Va.)

    In United States v. Chatrie, No. 3:19-cr-130 (E.D. Va.), Okello Chatrie was charged with armed robbery based on Google Sensorvault data obtained by law enforcement via a geofence warrant. Chatrie is represented by Michael Price, Senior Litigation Counsel for the Fourth Amendment Center, and Laura Koenig, a public defender in the Eastern District of Virginia. 

    • Brief

    United States v. Holmes

    Amicus Curiae Brief on Behalf of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Appellant and Reversal


    Argument: The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and of Evidence work together to ensure that a criminal defendant can confront and challenge an expert witness proffered by the prosecution. Rule 16 requires the prosecution to timely disclose the identity of an expert witness, and the basis for that expert’s testimony, sufficiently before trial to permit a criminal defendant to mount a complete defense. And the rules of evidence—in particular, Rules 701 and 702—ensure that an expert’s testimony is based on reliable, verifiable data that can be the subject of rigorous cross-examination. In this prosecution, the defendant, Elizabeth Holmes, was robbed of the protections of these rules. The government disclosed a lay-turned-expert witness—on the critical question of whether Theranos technology worked— on the eve of trial, years after the Rule 16 deadline had passed. Worse, that expert testimony relied upon data that no longer existed, meaning it was neither reliable nor verifiable, and could not be the subject of meaningful crossexamination or responsive testimony. This sleight of hand is, regrettably, common. The government has previously “subvert[ed] the requirements” of the federal rules, and “blur[r]ed the distinction between” expert and lay testimony. United States v. Figueroa-Lopez, 125 F.3d 1241, 1246 (9th Cir. 1997). It also frequently discloses expert witnesses way beyond the deadlines set forth in Rule 16. See United States v. Yagi, 2013 WL 10570994, at *16 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 17, 2013); United States v. Cerna, 2010 WL 2347406, at *1 (N.D. Cal. June 8, 2010). This appeal is an opportunity to call the government to account for these harmful practices.