Washington, DC (Jan. 11, 2018) – This morning, the House of Representatives passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017, which will now head to the Senate for a vote. Section 702 surveillance was intended to target the communications of non-U.S. persons overseas, but often captures purely domestic communications. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is deeply disappointed by the passage of this bill in the House and urges the Senate to not pass it.
"Today marks another step in the government’s path toward the erosion of Fourth Amendment rights in the name of national security," said NACDL President Rick Jones. "Rather than reforming the government’s worst excesses under the broad surveillance power of Section 702, the House voted to codify them into law. NACDL has long demanded significant change to the government’s reckless and warrantless surveillance of Americans, and the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017 does not provide this. The Senate must not pass this bill."
This legislation reauthorizes U.S. warrantless surveillance under Section 702 of FISA until 2024. It codifies the backdoor search loophole that allows the government to search the information collected under Section 702 for domestic investigations without meaningful limitation. The bill also allows for the practice referred to as "about" collection, whereby the government collects even purely domestic communications merely because they mention a target of Section 702 collection.
The proposed Amash-Lofgren amendment, sponsored by Representative Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), was the source of major debate in the House. The Amash-Lofgren amendment would have replaced the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017 with the USA RIGHTS Act, legislation which went a long way to bring Section 702 surveillance in line with constitutional protections and one which NACDL has previously supported. Today’s vote comes after a short-term reauthorization of Section 702 was passed on December 21. Section 702 was originally scheduled to sunset at the end of 2017.
The full text of the House bill is available here.
Pattern Cross-Examination for DNA and Biological Evidence: A Trial Strategy Guide
NACDL’s Pattern Cross-Examination for DNA and Biological Evidence will assist criminal defense practitioners in scoring points when cross-examining forensic experts in cases involving DNA and biological evidence. This resource contains thousands of questions that will help defense lawyers cross-examine challenging witnesses without reinventing the wheel with each new case. It includes pattern questions that can be used to dominate prosecution DNA experts and level the playing field at trial.
Cross-Examination of the Analyst in Drug Prosecutions (2nd Ed.) By James M. Shellow
Now in its second edition with some new material, James M. Shellow’s book offers what its title promises: ways of thinking about cross-examining the forensic analysts in drug cases. But the book is so much more than that. It offers a look inside the mind of one of the finest cross-examiners and defense lawyers the United States has produced in the last seventy years. This small book can inspire and direct you in making big changes in the way you defend your clients and think about the entire project of trying any case.
Justice For All, Justice Now White T-Shirt (Women’s)
This custom, vintage-faded NACDL t-shirt is 50% polyester, 25% cotton, and 25% rayon weighing 5.2 oz. and is lightwieght, flexible and soft, providing maximum comfort. It features the "Justice For All, Justice Now" slogan and Lady Liberty image on the front, with the NACDL logo on the back. Currently available in both men's and women's sizes in both black and white colors. View the full line-up of colors and sizes on our online store, as well as our other popular and best-selling t-shirt designs at: nacdl.org/store.
Drug Cases Resource Materials Collection - CD-ROM
NACDL’s Drug Cases Resource Materials Collection is the sweeping culmination of every single article of written materials ever published from each installment of NACDL's annual "Defending Modern Drug Cases" seminar. Totaling over 12,000 pages, this vast collection includes 12+ years of motions, briefs, reports, outlines, transcripts, case citations, scholarly articles, powerpoints and other written commentaries. This collection provides trial strategies and tactics you can immediately apply to your current cases.
Mental Illness & the Law: Addressing and Litigating Behavioral Health Disorders in Criminal Cases
Whether it is insanity, impairment, a disorder, or adolescent brain development; mental health and intellectual competence issues affect pretrial supervision, trial and sentencing, and your chances of successfully advocating for your impaired client. This training provides ideas and proven solutions to assist you in advocating for your client during trial, whether it be insanity defenses, jury selection, cross of expert witnesses, persuasion, or mitigation at sentencing.
Alexandra Funk, NACDL Public Affairs & Communications Assistant, (202) 465-7647 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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.