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Missouri v. Johnson
Brief of Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (MACDL) and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer (NACDL) as Amici Curiae in Support of Appellant and Intervenor.
Argument: Conviction of innocent persons cannot be tolerated. A prosecutor should be able to exercise her statutory and ethical duty to assist in overturning wrongful convictions. Missouri’s state habeas corpus rule is inadequate to provide a remedy to innocent persons who are wrongfully convicted because it requires the innocent person, who may be without counsel, to file and litigate his petition in the county where he is in custody rather than the county of conviction. Missouri Court Rules 29.11 (motion for new trial) and 29.12 (plain error) should be construed to allow a prosecutor to file a motion in the trial court to correct a wrongful conviction.
Missouri v. Smiley
Brief of Amici Juvenile Law Center, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, et al. Supporting Respondent Jerri Smiley (full list of amici in appendix to attached brief).
Argument: Miller v. Alabama reaffirms the U.S. Supreme Court's recognition that children are categorically less culpable than adults. The U.S. Supreme Court's jurisprudence that children are different than adults in constitutionally relevant ways is not limited to a specific crime or sentence. Because of adolescents' reduced culpability, Missouri's armed criminal action statute cannot be mechanically applied to juvenile offenders. Incarcerating juvenile offenders in adult facilities diminishes public safety and places youth at risk of severe harm.
In re Eric G. Zahnd
Brief of Amici Curiae National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (MACDL).
Argument: In the criminal justice system, non-party participants and letter writers, as well as other witnesses deserve a certain level of protection to be free from prosecutorial use of abusive process, free from coercive threats and intimidation, and free from gratuitous retaliation for refusal to accede to those prosecutorial threats and intimidation. In this case, Respondent Eric G. Zahnd holds a special place of trust as a prosecutor. He countenanced and participated in abusive process, coercive threats and reprisal for failure to capitulate to his threats. NACDL and MACDL take no position regarding the appropriate level of sanction, but suggest that a finding of ethical violation of Rules 4-4.4(a), 4-5.1(c) and 4-8.4 is appropriate in this circumstance to both discipline Respondent Zahnd, and also to deter other attorneys, especially prosecutors, from engaging in similar conduct going forward in order to protect future non-party witnesses and letter writers from fear of such abuses; which in turn, protects defendants’ rights to due process and fair proceedings. Discipline in this case is necessary to accomplish the goals of the disciplinary process to protect the public and maintain the integrity of the legal profession. In re McMillin, 521 S.W.3d 604, 610 (Mo. banc 2017).