Washington, DC (January 14, 2009) – “It is a sad fact, ignored or overlooked by many, that most of the [Guantanamo] detainees will never be prosecuted for any crime,” John Wesley Hall, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, writes in this month’s issue of the association’s magazine. “We jailed those innocent people for their purported ‘information.’” Hall argues that the camps ought to be, and can be, emptied immediately and the prisoners sent home to their families “with our deepest apologies.”
“The time is long past for calling these persons ‘detainees.’ They’re prisoners, many of whom the government now admits have committed no crime, erroneously detained and imprisoned because no one had the guts to admit a mistake,” Hall said.
President-Elect Barack Obama has said he will close the camps at Guantanamo, but on ABC’s “This Week” Jan. 11 added, “it’s going to take some time.” Hall’s article, available on NACDL’s Web site, disputes the arguments that existing federal law and procedures are ill-equipped to handle Guantanamo cases. Most detainees could be repatriated to their own countries as quickly as travel arrangements could be made.
According to Hall, no special courts or military commissions are necessary. The federal court system has proven itself capable of dealing with those who are or can be charged with terrorism crimes against the United States or the Law of Nations. Persons accused of unlawful combat on the battlefield or war crimes should be tried in military courts with the protections of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions.
Regarding those the present administration’s claim that some prisoners, although they have committed no crime, are too dangerous to release to their home countries, the article notes that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld temporary confinement of individuals deemed dangerous – but only after a judge or jury, weighing competent evidence, has found that the person poses a clear and convincing danger to himself or others.
There is a special class of prisoner, however, that cannot be sent to their homelands in the foreseeable future because of the risk that they would be imprisoned, tortured or even executed for political or religious reasons. Hall argues that we must face the legal and moral consequences of imprisoning innocent persons and provide them with whatever assistance they need.
The full article can be viewed online or downloaded at: http://www.nacdl.org/public.nsf/mediasources/20090113a/$FILE/column.pdf.
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.
NACDL Communications Department
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.