What is the State Criminal Justice Network (SCJN)?
The State Criminal Justice Network (SCJN) includes representatives from NACDL state affiliates, the defense bar, judges, policymakers, advocates and individuals, all working to promote progressive criminal justice reform in their jurisdictions.
Through the SCJN, NACDL seeks to:
- Facilitate communication on substantive issues and advocacy strategies among legislative contacts across the country;
- Create national momentum and attention to high-priority criminal justice reform initiatives; and
- Provide resources and support in the form of legislative action alerts, legislative tracking, model legislation, news updates, events, and more!
Post questions, share events and job opportunities, and gain valuable insight from fellow state criminal justice advocates. A newsletter is disseminated monthly via email to provide state legislative updates, new reports and other resources, action alerts, job opportunities, upcoming events, and more.
Programs and Initiatives
Second Chance Month: Since 2017, NACDL, Prison Fellowship, and other organizations from around the country have recognized April as Second Chance Month. This year, NACDL hostws a slate of free, live virtual events delving into different ways to create second chances for individuals who are incarcerated or who have a criminal record. On NACDL’s Second Chance Month webpage, you can find recordings of these webinars, a social media toolkit, and other resources.
Struck: Race, Jury Selection, and the Need for Reform in Colorado: On Monday, March 28th, 2022, NACDL hosted a free webinar delving into the discriminatory use of peremptory strikes in jury selection and avenues for reform. The discussion was moderated by NACDL’s Public Defense Counsel Monica Milton and featured Paula Hannaford-Agor, Director of the Center for Jury Studies at the National Center for State Courts; Tristan Gorman, Policy Director, Colorado Criminal Defense Bar; and Brendon Woods, Alameda County Public Defender. A recording of the program will be available soon!
Defenders Becoming DAs: Unpacking the Tension in Our Community: On January 27th, 2022, NACDL partnered with the National Association for Public Defense (NAPD), Gideon’s Promise, and the National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) to host a conversation about public defense, elected prosecutors, and the power to transform the criminal legal system.
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Race and the Criminal Legal System Discussion Series: This ongoing webinar series seeks to highlight how race intersects with various issues in the criminal legal system, navigating these racial disparities, and ways to advocate for change. Previous events have focused on issues around policing, pretrial practices, public defense, collateral consequences, and prosecution. Please check the webinar resources page for access to recordings of previous discussions updates regarding additional events.
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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.
SCJN National Advocacy Calls on Developing Legislation: These webinars and teleconferences feature issue area experts and are designed to educate criminal defense lawyers and advocates across the country on a variety of criminal justice issues.
State Criminal Justice Network (SCJN) Newsletter: This monthly e-newsletter features a snapshot of NACDL's state criminal justice priorities, as well as, recent internal and external reports, information on upcoming events, webinars, current state legislative reform efforts, legislative tracking, action alerts and more!
NACDL Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference: Every year, NACDL brings together advocates from around the country for our annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference. This conference offers participants the opportunity to hear from experts on state criminal justice reform and the opportunity to network of like-minded advocates. The 21st Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference will be held on August 11-12, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida. Registration information and further details on the conference will be available soon.
Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award: The NACDL Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award recognizes an individual or group whose exceptional efforts have led to positive changes to reform a state criminal justice system. The award is presented each year at NACDL's Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference. Nominations for the 2022 Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award must be submitted electronically by Friday, June 3, 2022 and sent to Nora Zimmerman at firstname.lastname@example.org (subject line: Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award).
NACDL State Advocacy Resources: See how NACDL can assist you in your legislative and advocacy efforts!
State Legislative Victories: Each year, NACDL’s goal is to highlight the various legislative victories in numerous jurisdictions. Legislative victories from 2021 will be available soon!
Grassroots Mobilization: Find advocacy tools, guides, and services to get in contact and build relationships with your elected officials.
State-Level Reports: A compilation of reports which focus on state-level policies across the country.
Electronic Recording Project: Find statutes, legislation, and case law on the electronic recording of custodial interrogations in each state.