February 2019 E-News

Vol. 19 No. 2 | February 28, 2019

Vol. 19 No. 2 | February 28, 2019

NACDL Mourns San Francisco Public Defender and NACDL Board Member Jeff Adachi

NACDL is extremely saddened by the loss of San Francisco Public Defender and NACDL Board Member Jeff Adachi. Mr. Adachi passed away suddenly on February 22, 2019, at the age of 59. He is survived by his wife Mutsuko and his daughter Lauren.

Jeff Adachi served as elected Public Defender of the City and County of San Francisco since March 2002, the only elected public defender in California. The San Francisco Public Defender's Office serves more than 23,000 clients a year. Mr. Adachi was elected to a three-year term on NACDL's Board of Directors in August 2016. Mr. Adachi has received numerous local, state, and national awards, including the Society of Professional Journalists Public Official Award, American Bar Association Hodson Award for Public Service, SPUR Good Government Award, and California Public Defender's Association Program of the Year Award. Last month at NACDL's Race Matters II conference in Los Angeles, Mr. Adachi accepted NACDL's Champion of Public Defense Award on behalf of the San Francisco Public Defender's Office for its extraordinary efforts challenging pretrial release practices in the state of California.

Mr. Adachi graduated from Hastings College of the Law in 1985 and attended undergraduate studies at U.C. Berkeley.

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Text NACDL to 50457; NACDL Unveils Mobile Text Alerts to Bolster Criminal Justice Reform Advocacy

Making an impact in criminal justice reform just got easier. Following the implementation of a new mobile advocacy platform, NACDL unveiled a new way to engage advocates in support of NACDL’s criminal justice reform priorities. Just text NACDL to 50457 to get started.

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NACDL Demands Immediate and Comprehensive Investigation into the Emergence and Handling of the ‘Inhumane and Cruel’ Conditions at the Federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn

In late January and early February, for the better part of a week, people being held in the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC), the federal jail in Brooklyn, New York, housing more than 1,600 people in federal custody, were forced into lockdown in their cells without light and without heat, all during an outbreak of frigid weather. According to reports, the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), the agency within the Department of Justice (DOJ) responsible for the nation’s federal jails and prisons, initially issued an emailed statement denying that what they called a “partial power outage” had affected heat and hot water in individuals’ cells. A spokesperson for Warden Herman Quay made the same initial claim concerning heat and hot water. Defense lawyers and union leaders for the facility’s employees disputed those claims.

“The conditions under which these human beings have been forced to live for more than a week, and during absolutely frigid weather, are truly inhumane and cruel. Indeed, it shocks the conscience to think that more than 1,600 people in the custody of the American government could be allowed to endure this,” said NACDL President Drew Findling on February 4. “NACDL demands an immediate and comprehensive investigation by the Department of Justice into the emergence and handling of this crisis. While power outages happen, so do contingency plans to address such events. Instead, what we bear witness to in Brooklyn, New York, appears consistent with a growing culture of cruelty and indifference to human suffering against which we all must be vigilant. The handling of this situation at MDC was self-evidently horrific and nightmarish. The thing truly does speak for itself. What we need now is a thorough and ultimately public investigation of this entire episode so that we can make sure this never happens again in the United States of America.”

“NACDL applauds the defense lawyers and, in particular, the Federal Defenders of New York for their tenacious efforts in fighting for basic, humane conditions for these individuals,” Findling added.

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The NAS Report on Strengthening Forensic Science, Ten Years On; Much Work Still To Be Done

Ten years ago, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences released the landmark report Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States, A Path Forward (NAS Report). The impact of the NAS Report in strengthening forensic science and improving its use in the courtroom has been tremendous. However, significant work is still needed to implement its recommendations and achieve its objectives and the government abandoned some of the plans for reform, stalling progress.

“A critical component of real and lasting reform in the legal system, especially in the context of criminal prosecutions, is ensuring the scientific integrity of forensic evidence admitted in the courtroom,” said NACDL President Drew Findling. “NACDL remains committed to advancing this essential goal.”

The 2009 NAS Report identified serious deficiencies in forensic science and called for reform, increased funding, and research to ensure foundational validity and increase the reliability of forensic evidence used in criminal cases. The Report made several crucial recommendations aimed at fixing America’s seriously flawed system. That included the establishment of a wholly independent federal agency to oversee the forensic science community consistent with scientific principles and as objective and unbiased as possible. The NAS report discussed the need for mandatory, standardized certification and accreditation of forensic science education and laboratories and certification of forensic science professionals. The Report also cited the need for institutional independence of public forensic laboratories, which the NAS found often hold a prosecutorial bias.

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NACDL Board Adopts Policy Resolutions at Midwinter Meeting in Phoenix

On Saturday, February 16, 2019, at NACDL’s Midwinter Meeting & Seminar in Phoenix, Arizona, NACDL’s Board of Directors adopted two policy resolutions. The first policy resolution calls for the immediate implementation of the First Step Act of 2018. That resolution urges legislation to retroactively apply certain sentencing reform provisions of the Act or, alternatively, urging the Executive Branch to systematically consider sentencing commutation for incarcerated individuals whose sentences could have been lower if sentenced under the provisions of the First Step Act. The second policy resolution adopted by the NACDL Board of Directors on February 16 was proposed to the Board by NACDL’s Task Force on Defenses, chaired by NACDL President Elect Nina Ginsberg. That resolution concerns NACDL’s opposition to categorical legislative prohibitions of defenses in criminal cases.

Member Exclusive: First Step Act of 2018 Webinar

Enacted December 21, 2018, the First Step Act modifies several federal sentencing provisions and mandates the creation of a new system for incentivizing participation in Bureau of Prisons programming. On January 29, 2019, NACDL hosted a live webinar featuring sentencing expert Amy Baron-Evans discussing the ins and outs of the new law, with emphasis on potentially overlooked aspects of the most significant provisions. Ms. Baron-Evans is the Sentencing Resource Counsel for the Federal Public and Community Defenders, and the go-to lawyer among federal defenders for difficult sentencing questions. This webinar is available as an NACDL member benefit here.


NACDL's 10th Annual FREE Training for Post-Conviction Lawyers

Litigating Post-Conviction Innocence Claims

April 11, 2019, Atlanta, Georgia

NACDL, in collaboration with the Innocence Network, presents an essential new training specifically for lawyers who handle post-conviction innocence claims.** National experts will provide cutting-edge instruction on topics essential for reinvestigating and litigating post-conviction innocence claims. Innovative new strategies and topics never before addressed in the 10-year history of this training program will be featured! Sessions will cover both forensic evidence and strategies to tackle difficult issues in post-conviction innocence claims, including: addressing racial discrimination at trial during post-conviction litigation; forensic genealogy (CeCe Moore); blood spatter (David Rudolf & Timothy Palmbach); DNA: probabilistic genotyping; shaken baby syndrome/abusive head trauma; and navigating admissibility standards post-conviction: http://www.nacdl.org/postconviction.

Registration for this event is separate from the 2019 Innocence Network Conference which begins the next day and will be held on April 12-13, also at Westin Peachtree Plaza. This conference is a national event that brings together attorneys, the exonerated, and their families for two days of educational sessions related to innocence work. For information and registration, visit http://www.innocencenetwork.org/networkconference.

**Pursuant to the grant funding, attendees must work on the screening, review, investigation, and/or litigation of potential post-conviction innocence claims and you cannot work on the prosecution of criminal matters. By registering for this training, you certify those facts to be true. If you have any questions about eligibility to attend, please contact Senior Resource Counsel, Vanessa Antoun at vantoun@nacdl.org.


Bylaw Amendments

On February 16, at the NACDL Midwinter Membership Meeting, NACDL’s membership adopted a series of amendments to Articles II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, and XI of NACDL’s bylaws. The adopted amendments are available online at www.nacdl.org/bylaws/amendment2019mm01.

In addition, On February 16, 2019, at a regularly scheduled meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, the Board of Directors voted to submit a bylaws amendment to NACDL's membership. The amendment concerns Articles III, V, and VII of NACDL's bylaws. The complete proposed amendment and the Action Report of the Bylaws Committee are available online.

NACDL’s 2019 Election Notice

NACDL's 2019 election is underway. Individuals interested in running for officer positions or for the board of directors should consult http://www.nacdl.org/elections for deadlines and procedures.

Legislative Advocacy

NACDL’s 2019 Second Chance Month District Visits

Did you know that April is recognized as Second Chance Month? An estimated 70 million Americans have a criminal record and therefore potentially face an onslaught of collateral consequences – specific legal restrictions, generalized discrimination, and social stigma – leading to barriers to employment, occupational licensing, housing, education, public benefits, immigration status, parental rights, driving rights, and voting rights. While research has shown that steady employment is the best way to keep someone from committing another crime, excessive barriers severely limit the prospects of those with a criminal conviction.

NACDL encourages its members to schedule in-district meetings during the April district work period, April 15-27, 2019, in support of Second Chance Month and key federal legislation that would provide relief from collateral consequences. Click here to sign-up to participate.

If you have any questions, please contact NACDL’s Director of Advocacy at mreid@nacdl.org.


Webinar: “What to Do Before, During, and After Meetings with Members of Congress”

Every year, thousands of Americans work with their associations, nonprofits, or companies to meet with their Members of Congress in their districts/states. But many participants don’t know what to expect when they meet with their legislator, or their perceptions are shaped by the media. This presentation provides an overview of how and why meetings can be effective and offers tips for successfully meeting with members of Congress and their staff. Learn more and register here.

This webinar is conducted through a partnership between the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Congressional Management Foundation.

Details: March 19, 2019, at 2:00 p.m. ET. Sign-up here to register for the webinar.


Federal Legislative Tracking

Click here for a complete listing of all federal legislation NACDL is currently tracking. For more information on a specific bill or to learn NACDL's position, please contact Monica Reid, NACDL's Director of Advocacy, at mreid@nacdl.org.

Affinity Partners

NACDL is excited to announce that Adobe, MyPayrollHR, and Shutterfly, recently joined NACDL’s Affinity Partner Program.


Adobe is known for its multimedia and creativity software products. Popular products include Photoshop, Acrobat Reader, and Adobe Creative Cloud. Save up to 20% on Adobe Creative cloud, Pro CC, and Acrobat Pro. Visit https://perksmarketplace.com/nacdl to sign up.


MyPayrollHR is a web-based human resource and online payroll solution. It provides the convenience of managed payroll services typically offered by payroll outsourcing providers. NACDL members save 20% off standard pricing. Visit https://perksmarketplace.com/nacdl to request more information.


Shutterfly allows millions of people to store and share photos. It helps turn photos into photo books, cards, gifts, home decor, personal websites, and more. With the Shutterfly Affinity Partners Program, NACDL members receive 50% off everything, every day. Plus, enjoy FREE quarterly gifts. Visit https://perksmarketplace.com/nacdl to get your unique code.

Use NACDL Affinity Partners for exclusive discounts on essential expenses like insurance, office supplies, and more. Our partner programs are beneficial to you both personally and professionally. They can help you to recoup the cost of NACDL membership many times over.



Ivan J. Dominguez

Senior Director of Public Affairs & Communications



Ian Nawalinski

Public Affairs and Communications Assistant


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