Washington, DC (January 13, 2012) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) fully supports Military Commission Chief Defense Counsel Col. Jeffrey P. Colwell’s directive today that defense lawyers under his command cease written communications with their clients on grounds that the order compels them to unlawfully reveal information related to representation of their clients in violation of the rules of professional conduct. Defense counsel under Colwell’s command represent detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in military commission proceedings.
The attorney client privilege is the cornerstone of our adversarial system of criminal justice, and any system that fails to keep this value inviolate will inevitably fail to do justice. For this reason, NACDL is deeply concerned about the December 27 Joint Task Force order directing defense counsel to submit written communications with their clients to a so-called “privilege team.”
NACDL reiterates its position adopted unanimously by the Board of Directors on August 2, 2003, that “it is unethical for a criminal defense lawyer to represent a person accused before these military commissions [where] the conditions imposed upon defense counsel before these commissions make it impossible for counsel to provide adequate or ethical representation. Defense counsel cannot contract away his or her client’s rights, including the right to zealous advocacy, before a military commission[.]” NACDL Ethical Advisory Opinion 03-04 at 1.
Joint Task Force Commander RADM D.B. Woods’ “Order Governing Written Communications Management for Detainees Involved in Military Commissions” dated Dec. 27, 2011 would force defense counsel to “contract away” the client’s right to privileged communications with his counsel, which a lawyer – any lawyer – cannot do.
NACDL President Lisa Wayne, who has referred the matter to the association’s Ethics Advisory Committee, lauded Col. Colwell’s ethics and integrity, stating, “Colonel Colwell’s position reminds us of our role as criminal defense lawyers, which is to steadfastly resist efforts to chip away at the foundations of our adversarial system, even when institutional or other factors make defense counsel’s positions difficult or unpopular.”
While a new opinion from NACDL’s Ethics Advisory Committee is pending, the association has condemned past efforts to interfere with the attorney-client relationship based on specious national security, or any other, grounds. NACDL’s Military Law Committee Co-Chairs, Jack Zimmermann and Donald Rehkopf, noted that “efforts to enforce the joint task force order will cast further doubt on the military commissions’ capacity to adjudicate detainee cases fairly.”
A copy of Col. Colwell’s memorandum for Guantanamo detainee counsel is posted on NACDL’s website 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.
Jack King, Director of Public Affairs & Communications, (202) 465-7628 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.